Greetings; my name is Peter J.T. Langdon. I was asked to write a short essay about why I wish to study video game programming at the Arts Institute of Vancouver. I feel the best way to do that is to tell you a little about myself and about where I’ve been in life.
I love stories. I love everything about stories. I’ve always loved reading, watching, listening to, and telling stories. I firmly believe that stories make up a large part of who we each are as people, and bind us as a society, more than governments or borders. Stories allow us to explore our past, our present, and our future. They allow us to delve into the depths of the two most fascinating, while at the same time most terrifying, words of the English language: “What If…” These words inspire the philosophers and scientists of our world. The stories we tell give us answers and open possibilities these words hint at. These words have been explored for centuries in various mediums; photography, literature, film, theatre… and now in video games. Video games are, to me, the ultimate in interactive storytelling, the ultimate in expressive art forms. They combine all other forms of media in an interactive format never before equaled. I want to explore how they are made, how they are structured, and how they work. I have my own stories to tell, too, and what better way to tell my stories than video games?
I grew up living below the poverty line in a small town, often an outcast due to financial status and because I was always a little different; at 13 I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and other “severe learning disorders” as they called them. I was shunned and ostracized even worse, and grew up being told I was less than “everyone else,” that I was stupid, that I couldn’t learn, that I amount to nothing. They are wrong. I’ve learned, through many personal challenges, what my strengths and weaknesses are. In recent years, I have come to more fully realize that I have far greater potential than any of those naysayers would have led me to believe, and how foolish I was to have listened to them. My “learning disabilities” may make some jobs harder for me, but they make me stronger in other areas, and I want to focus on those strengths. To hone them and make them even better. I have a talent for stories, and a passion for games of all kinds. I’ve always had a knack and a fascination for computers; when I was working internet technical support for Convergys, I was top of my team for technical knowledge and customer satisfaction.
Between 2006 to 2008, I tinkered with an MMO server emulator and was single-handedly growing a community of players for the game that server emulated. My passion for the intricacies game development truly began, however, with the announcement of Star Trek Online by Perpetual Entertainment. I started wondering how they’d implement the art, gameplay, sound, writing, etc. I started hunting articles and information on the subject; what the various jobs were, what education or training they looked for, what the process of building a video game truly entailed. After Perpetual lost the licensing and Cryptic Studios picked it up, my fascination with the development process grew. It’s continued to grow and grow through the life of the game. My dream job would be to be the Assistant Executive Producer on Star Trek Online, and take over the EP role when Daniel Stahl himself retires from the industry. That particular dream maybe too specific to be likely, but that does not change my desire… nay, hunger for the industry and to be a big part of it.
I have the raw talent and the determination; I need the training. Sure, I could go to several different schools and get similar diplomas; but mediocrity was what was dumped on me as a child, not what I want for myself. I don’t want to just simply be “good enough.” I want to be great. I want to be the best I can be. I want to ascend higher than the life I was trapped in as a child, I want to be the best. I want my name to be known by people around the world for quality, innovation, and creativity. That means I need the best skills, taught by the best schools. The Arts Institute of Vancouver is the one place I know of that can teach all the skills that I want to learn at the level of quality I hunger for. The Arts Institute has a reputation for producing some of the best talents in the industry, and I want that kind of reputation at my back. I have no doubt whatsoever that I can and will earn it.
The past 10 years have been a torrent of personal failures and disasters, I admit. I’ve followed job and career advice of the wrong people, and neglected to follow my heart. For all these years, I have been setting aside my passions and dreams to live what others have said is “better” for me, putting my trust in others before myself. No more. I’m ready to take my life into my own hands, to live the dream that’s been mine all along, and share that dream with others who’s passions make them my peers, rather than conform to the standards and desires of others. I’m ready to take on these new and exciting challenges, struggle through these academic battles for the priceless treasures of knowledge and skill, to conquer my personal dragons, and join the ranks of the victorious in this field of expertise. I know that I will not let this institution down. Thank you for your time, and your consideration.
Peter J.T. Langdon
“Live each moment as though it were being used in an epic montage.”