No one of my family were computer scientists, but both my father and grandfather were sort of early adopters and they got one for the accounting of our family business. I was a bit too young to appreciate the games I had in those microcomputers, so my history with video games didn’t really started around the time I got the Super NES as a birthday present.
Actually, it wasn’t Mario who sparked the video game fire. We had a 386 computer at home, and 4 floppy disks with a pirate version of The Secret of Monkey Island made it to my home. As a kid who loved to read, the idea of an interactive story blew my mind much more than the action packed games I had played before. During my first years on the hobby I gravitated to games with some kind of narrative. I preferred the more “serious” adventure games from Sierra like Laura Bow, Police Quest and Gabriel Knight to the comical masterpieces of Lucas Arts (although Loom and Fate of Atlantis are between my favourite games). In the console side, my genre of choice were the japanese action RPGs that came with very impressive editions to Spain: Illusion of Time, Secret of Evermore and Terranigma.
In high school I discovered the world of pen and paper role playing games and I stayed a bit away of video games for a couple of years (in the middle of the PSX/N64 war), spending my free time at home reading rulebooks, creating character backstories or preparing adventures to GM. I fell back to PC games, which were in a pretty good shape at that point: Baldur’s Gate (yeah, I loved D&D), Little Big Adventure, Civilization II, the first Half-Life and Max Payne.
I was quite sure that I wanted to study something to do with computers. I studied Engineering in Computer Science at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. I really had very good times there, and I was quite an active member of the PLUG (our Linux User Group). I lean more to the open-source pragmatic side, because I always kept a windows boot at home in order to play games.
When I was on my second year, I discovered a game that made me rekindle the videogame fire and I think was a big part of me wanting to do games for a living: Star Wars Galaxies. As a roleplayer, the idea of inhabiting a virtual world was really compelling and I found myself building a quite profitable Armorsmithing business in the FarStar-EU server. The economy of virtual worlds is something that interests me since then and probably a reason I am quite heavy F2P player.
After Galaxies, I tried most of the big games on the booming MMO genre: Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest 2, City of Heroes, EVE Online, Guild Wars and, of course, World of Warcraft (although I didn’t get hooked until some years later, when Wrath of the Lich King was released).
In my last year of the degree, I made friends with the guys that were doing a rather funny video game show in the local radio station: Game Over. They told me to come and visit the studio and hang out later. Eventually, they ask me to collaborate, because they liked the stuff that I was writing in their web forum and in my personal blog.
The video game scene in Spain had started to resurface by then. Pyro Studios was very successful and my university had started a Masters Degree a couple of years before. I decided to try it and see if I could get a job programming video games. After the masters I managed to get hired at Digital Legends, I suspect because of my Linux and Python knowledge, but I am not ashamed of it.
I learned in my time at Digital Legends working first with Nokia and N-Gage and then being exposed to a lot of platforms during the mobile explosion. A lot died fast, but I was able to see the birth of the iPhone (and we were on a Keynote) and Android.
After 7 years at Digital Legends I felt the need for something new and I wanted to work abroad. Remedy was testing the waters in iOS and they offered me the chance to come and work in Finland with a team of very experienced mobile developers.
I worked on two unreleased mobile projects at Remedy. It was a great place to work, but my time there was shorter than I expected because they decided to move away from mobile so instead of jumping to AAA, I applied to Supercell who, at that point, were looking for a programmer with Android experience for the Hay Day team (did I mentioned that I love Hay Day?).
To be continued…