By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
BERKELEY, Calif. — A graduate of Danville High School has joined a video game company seeking to spread environmentally friendly messages through gaming.
McKenna Andrews, a graduate of the 2002 class of DHS and son of Grove Presbyterian Church’s Rev. Robert Andrews, was hired as a design consultant six months ago for the company Better World Gaming. Since then, he’s been at work helping design their upcoming game for tablet devices and smart phones. Due to a non-disclosure agreement, he wasn’t able to give many details on the game except that it should be coming out in early 2014 and that it is meant to teach people to be more conservative with their energy use.
“Our goal is to make something very informative as well as useful,” Andrews said. He and his colleagues are aware that there’s a challenge in trying to present educational material as a game, but they want to try to include a message that isn’t often seen in mainstream games. “We’re working on gaming projects that are fundamentally engaging for players … while also contributing something positive,” he said.
This title will be Better World Gaming’s first and is currently in the prototyping phase.
Working for a video game company had been a dream of Andrews’ for a long time, ever since he enrolled at New Jersey’s Kubert School, founded by famed comic book artist Joe Kubert. Andrews graduated from the Kubert School in 2006 and spent several years freelancing before making the move to California to pursue his dreams.
“Even back in college, I had always dreamed of moving out to California,” he said. “Last year, the opportunity arose and I left with a suitcase filled with whatever I could carry and the clothes on my back.” His family was very supportive of the decision as they knew it was something he had always wanted.
His sister lives in San Francisco, which made the move easier. Andrews stayed with a friend of hers until he could find his own place in Berkeley. His sister also put him in touch with Beaudry Kock, the CEO and founder of Better World Gaming, after she met Kock at a dinner party. “We really just hit it off,” Andrews said.
Designing art for a video game isn’t very different from the other drawing jobs Andrews has had. “Fundamentally, it’s still graphic art. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and what I was trained to do.”
Better World Gaming is a small company without a centralized office. The staff members for their current project are spread out across the world and mainly communicate with each other over the Internet. This gives them much more flexibility than they would have working for a larger video game company making games for systems such as the Xbox or PlayStation. “That’s the great thing about mobile games, there doesn’t need to be a large office of people,” Andrews said. “It’s much smaller, lower risk. … It’s an excellent way for people new to the industry to find a way in.”
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