Half the fun of playing The Sims games is when you get to make Sims characters do wacky or really cool stuff you’d never get to do in real life–like hang out with stars like Katy Perry (did you hear she’s partnering with The Sims for upcoming expansion packs and more? True fact!). But what if you had the opportunity to actually make the Sims games and get paid for it, too? Well, as an Associate Producer at Electronic Arts, that’s just what our latest girl-crush, Azure Bowie does every day!
She was awesome enough to chat with me this week, and even told me how you might be able to get a job like hers one day.
If you’ve ever wanted an insider look at The Sims world, this is it!
Gurl: Have you always loved video games?
Azure: I have! The first game I ever bought actually, when I was 12 or 13, was The Sims–I was obsessed with it, and it opened me up to all kinds of other video games that I’d never thought about playing before. By the time I was in college, I was having gaming tournaments all the time with friends.
Gurl: You’re an Assistant Producer–what does that really mean, and what cool stuff do you get to do on the games?
Azure: I’ve been at Electronic Arts working on The Sims since I started as an intern in May 2007, so I’ve been able to do a lot! In my current job in production, I get to work on the game itself. Pretty recently, I worked with concept artists to decide what The Sims 3 store would look like–I helped come up with ideas for the design packs. It was like a dream!
Gurl: What do you love most about your job?
Azure: I love seeing the game come together. I was a fan for so long, but I had no idea how the games were actually made. Now I do it myself every day! I get to play the games as they’re being made, which is amazing–and I also get to encourage younger girls to study and follow their passion so they can do jobs they love, too. Oh, and I get to travel and meet people who play The Sims all over the world. It’s amazing to meet a fan in Spain one day and someone else who plays in Germany the next. The game just relates to everyone. It’s pretty cool.
Gurl: What did you study in school that helped you get this job?
Azure: Well, I initially went to college for dance, which I love, but then I switched majors five times and finally ended up really liking economics. I stayed an extra year after the four years of undergrad and got my MBA, which is a Master’s degree in Business Administration. I figured no matter what I wanted to do, even if I wanted to start my own dance company, that a business background would be helpful.
Gurl: So, a business degree helped you get a job making video games?!
Azure: Ha! Well, sort of, but really, it was more my passion for The Sims that did it. I had to have an internship when I was in college, and I was having trouble finding one. My counselor told me to look at my interests and pick something based off of those. At that point, I was playing The Sims at least 10 hours a week, and when I found out the company that makes The Sims was near my college, I wrote them this really gushy, almost embarrassing fan letter begging for an internship. To my surprise, they said yes and hired me! I’ve been here ever since.
Gurl: That’s so cool! What advice would you have for girls who want to follow in your footsteps?
Azure: Don’t be afraid to change your mind, and focus on the things you love. If you’re passionate about something and really put your heart into it, sometimes things just fall into place. Also, if you’re good at math, hang onto that and get even better at it! I can’t tell you how much we need more female engineers in the industry–so go to science camps or engineering camps and learn all about it. You could make video games, too!
Are you obsessed with The Sims? Tell us why you love it in the comments!