Polish Games Industry
Games Industry List
Who am I, and why bother with a personal website?
A good way to begin would be to answer that second question - the reason I bothered setting up this website, back in 2003, was simply to have a place where I could put an online version of my Master's Thesis about video game narrative. I've added a few things since then, and I daresay that for many people, my list of Polish game developers and publishers will be of much greater interest.
Back to the first question, then. Who am I? Professionally, I am currently a project manager in game development; previously, I had also worked in a number of other capacities, as a writer, level designer, game designer, et cetera. Other than that... I'm 30 years old. Roman Catholic by faith, Polish by nationality. I am married, and we have a two-year-old daughter - hopefully, one day she will have siblings. I have three brothers and two sisters (more about my family on my father's website).
I come from Toruń, a small city in northern Poland, but I've had a very international upbringing - I left Poland with my parents as a ten-year-old, moving to Papua New Guinea (a large tropical island - it's the one above Australia, if you look on a map), and then on to Macau (China - though it was still Portuguese when I was there!). Going into adulthood, I continued my travels by studying at universities in Australia, France and Australia again, before finally returning to Poland.
In Poland itself, I've lived in Toruń, Wroclaw and Warsaw before finally ending up in Bydgoszcz, where for the time being, we are happy to settle down.
I have many, many interests, but as this website would indicate, my primary area of interest is computer gaming and game design. I've been playing games for almost two decades now, from classics like Sid Meier's Pirates! (1987), Silmarils' Colorado (1990), Westwood Studios' Dune 2 (1992) and id Software's Doom (1993), all the way to Bethesda Softworks' The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002) and, well... Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004 - the remake). And, of course, the Wing Commander series (1990-1998). Over the course of this period, I gradually learned that playing games is not even half the fun - there is much more enjoyment to be had editing and making them. This, of course, naturally led to an interest in the theoretical side of things.
Truth be told, it wasn't even my intention to get so deep into games - my Bachelor's degree was in international relations, and I fully intended to work in this field. International relations, however, was ultimately something of a disappointment - certainly, I learned a lot, and certainly everything I learned was of interest to me, but I couldn't find anything that I would want to do with this knowledge. Fortunately, however, I had been required to take several elective courses during my studies, and I happened to choose a film-related course called Style & Genre. During this course, I wrote an essay about narrative (storytelling) in video games... my lecturer was very pleased with it, and encouraged me to do more with the topic. Next thing you know, I was pursuing a Master's degree in film & television. Film is by itself a fantastic thing to study - combined with games, it was simply the best subject I could have possibly chosen.
It was also during those years of university study that I finally started doing serious things with games - first, by getting into the community centred around the editing (also referred to as modding) of the Wing Commander computer game series, and then by discovering the world of indie games development, where small teams develop games on virtually no budget... and are able to earn a living by doing it.
Meanwhile, in late 2004, I got my first 'real' games industry job as a junior games designer, at the now-defunct game developer Tannhauser Gate in Wrocław, Poland. Working full-time for a games developer is an entirely different experience than indie gaming, but I haven't regretted the move - it can be incredibly frustrating at times, but it's always interesting, always fun, and very much worthwhile. Of course, this meant that I had to give up on indie development due to a lack of time, though paradoxically, even this full-time job hasn't stopped me from continuing modding - on the one hand, it's been a hugely useful means of gaining experience (especially in team management)... and on the other hand, I couldn't very well give up modding until I've done everything I'm committed to.
Then, in July 2005, I come to work one day and get a big surprise - the publisher's cancelled the deal (the publisher, it must be noted, had just recently been bought by another company), so the company won't be able to pay us any more. And so it was that the entire development staff lost their jobs in the space of one day - nothing unusual, of course, this kind of thing happens in games development all the time.
Fortunately, as typical as it is to lose your job in games development, it's also quite easy to find another one - so I found myself employed at City Interactive, another Polish games developer. That was back in 2006 - since then, I've continued to work in the Polish games industry all the way until now. Most of my time has been spent at City Interactive, in various capacities - as a designer, writer, project manager, producer and most recently, creative director. I haven't been employed there all the time, however (and am not employed there currently), and in the meantime I've also worked with other companies, the foremost of these being Vivid Games. You can read about my career, one game at a time, on my games page.
All that's left is to say a few words about my interests other than video games. First and foremost, I very much adore my wife - that's why I married her, after all ;). We have a baby daughter, who is also extremely adorable.
Other than that, I'm an avid reader of almost anything, fiction and non-fiction. In fiction, my tastes go from classic literature to modern pulp fantasy and science-fiction; when it comes to non-fiction, I spend countless hours reading history books, some bits and pieces of philosophy, and in recent years, a lot of Catholic theology and apologetics. Ever read anything by G. K. Chesterton? No? Well, you should. On the subject of theology, I devote a fair amount of my spare time to my local parish, where we produce weekly video clips (Polish language only, sorry) with our parish priest.
I'm extremely musical - I can play some really amazing music on an instrument called the CD player ;). My musical tastes range from classical and various kinds of ethnic music all the way to heavy rock (but not metal) - some of my favourite artists and groups include Mike Oldfield, Enya, Clannad, Loreena McKennitt, Crowded House, Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits, Meat Loaf, various Polish artists like Marek Grechuta, Wolna Grupa Bukowina, Jacek Kowalski, Myslovitz... and a lot of others.
I also watch a lot of films (of all kinds, from obscure independent productions to the latest action blockbusters) and some TV series. The latter includes mainly Joss Whedon's work - Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Angel (1999-2004) and Firefly (2002), but I'm also a fan of Chris Carter's The X Files (1993-2002 - although I only watched the first four or five seasons), Matt Groening's Futurama (1999-2003) and Richard Carpenter's Robin of Sherwood (1984-1986). I also enjoy hiking, swimming and kayaking. One of these days, I plan to learn to sail, or better yet, to fly light airplanes.
Copyright 2012 Jakub Majewski