Alumna of the month: Linn Søvig
Linn discovered her passion for video games while attending her MA in Media Studies at UiB. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to raise global awareness of the game development industry in Norway becoming the reference point for the Norwegian game developers community.
- You studied Media Studies first in UK and then at UiB. Why did you decide to continue your education with an MA in Norway?
- When I completed my BA at the University of East London in media studies, I came back to Norway and I started working with Yellow Pages first then within the life insurance sector. It was interesting to learn from a completely different industry and I was involved in a lot of projects data and analytic oriented. When all projects were completed, I was assigned to the same tasks I started with and I was bored. Thanks to an unexpected tax-return, I took a 1 months trip to South Korea where a friend of mine was living teaching English.
During the trip, I started writing a blog which I enjoyed tremendously. When I came back from the trip to my job in life insurance, I realized that I couldn't see the point of working there anymore. And I quit. That was a very stupid decision to quit on the spot as I was jobless and had to go on social security for several months. During this period I found myself often going to the library and taking long walks in the mountains. I decided to write a book and I found myself studying and reading more and more about media theory. That convinced me to apply for a Master Degree which became the best decision I have ever made.
I could definitely recommend taking some time off to decide on which subject one should continue their studies and find the right path. For me it was a combination of long walks in the mountains and lots of books at the public library of Bergen.
Long walks in the mountains and a lot of time at the public library helped me realize what I really wanted to do.
- What part of your studies has contributed the most to the professional you are today?
- I went into media studies and I was not interested in video games at all. When I was a child I didn't even own a consolle. My interest was in internet societies and communities. I wouldn't have discovered video games if I didn't take those studies. It was my master thesis supervisor that convinced me that I couldn't write about internet communities without including the world of video games.
Through my studies I also learned the vocabulary and terminology to do my job properly. The frame of references I acquired during my MA at UiB has been the building stone of my career.
I also believe that learning about analyzing a source of information and being able to categorize sources was something extremely important I learned in my studies. After the studies at UiB, this is ingrained in me.
- Do you think that the Norwegian schooling system should teach coding to school children as if it was a foreign language?
I never studied coding myself, I took a course which I never completed during my MA. Nevertheless I have been advocating for teaching children to code as if it was a foreign language. I was part of the discussions that started "lære kidsa coding" with the aim of teaching kids to code and programe and helping them to create contents utilizing technology as a tool, rather then just being users. (https://www.kidsakoder.no/).
We had seen that in norwegian high-schools if you chose artistic subjects you couldn't take coding as a subject. I find that ridicolous.
Without coding and programming we are teaching our children to read but depriving them of the opportunity to write.
- Female gamers have commonly been regarded as a minority, but industry surveys have shown that over time, the gender ratio has become closer to equal, and since the 2010s, women have been found to make up about half of all gamers. How did the industry close up the gap?
- The technology to develop games has become more available increasing the diversity of games offered to the public. That has certainly helped getting more titles oriented to a female public. There has also been a culture shift. Nevertheless I meet often girls that are passionate about RPG shooter games as much as boys.
- What are you currently working on?
- I work at Henchman and Goon, a Bergen based game developing company where I am responsible for marketing, communication, publishing and business development. We recently launched Pode, an award winner game available on Playstation and Nintendo. Pode is a co-op puzzle exploration game built around the themes of friendship and cooperation, with a strong emphasis on positive actions, relaxing atmosphere and beautiful art inspired by Norwegian culture. (http://www.podegame.com/).
Currently I am expanding and tailoring the marketing tools to target video games to the right public.
- How did you create your network within the gaming industry?
- It's a long and demanding process. It took me a while to create the network I have today. But my advise is to start early, by talking to Alumni from your University for example and just be involved in gatherings, conferences and workshops. Even though you don't have much to contribute with, share your passion and be contagious with your ideas.
- If you were given the possibility to choose just one game to bring with you on a desert highland, which game would bring along?
- I would definitely bring with me "What Remains of Edith Finch" which is a 2017 adventure game developed by Giant Sparrow and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game centers on the character of Edith, a member of the Finch family, afflicted by a perceived curse that causes all but one member of each generation to die in unusual ways. I have played it already three times.