An Interview with Starr Long…From 1999!
Deckard unearthed this as he was going through some old storage:
Here’s a quick transcription of the interview text:
Who: Starr Long
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Louisiana State University
Title: Project Director
Where: Origin Systems lnc., 5918 W. Courtyard Drive
Number of Employees: 200
Job description: I manage the art, design and programming of computer games from the start-up production through the shipping of the product. I also liason with the other parts of the company like marketing, testing. customer service, public relations and sales.
Corporate culture: The atmosphere around here is extremely creative and incredibly fast-paced. We put in a lot of hours, but we’re a pretty fun-loving group. Most people have toys in their office like action figures or race tracks. We are very eclectic in look — everyone dresses pretty casual, like summer shorts and T-shirts, earrings and tattoos, ex-military guys with big muscles.
Best perk: The No. 1 perk is just getting to be on the cutting edge of technology as far as games are concerned — getting to do things no one else has done before. We also participate in cool extracurricular activities like if some cool new sci-fi movie is out, we’ll take the whole company to see it. To blow off steam, we shoot at each other with Nerf guns, dump pumpkins from the garage roof, and we have a dunking booth for company execs at happy hours.
Ambition: I want to always be doing something that’s really out there, that’s different and new.
Career turning point: I was doing work in theatres here in town, building sets and stuff and not making any money. I decided I had to get a 9-to-5 job, but I didn’t want to do anything boring. I saw an ad in the paper that said ‘video game testers wanted.’ I thought It was a joke, but I checked It out, and they really paid me to test video games. That was six years ago, and I‘ve since worked my way up.
It’s a good day when: All Of the pieces from all the different departments fit together and everything looks really good and works without any problems, or when we demo the game we’re working on and it’s cooler than we even thought it would be.
It’s a bad day when: We don’t meet our deadlines and things don’t come out quite as we planned.
Role model: My dad. He owns his own antique store in Louisiana, and he is always organized and on top of things. He is constantly trying to learn and create stuff, and he can make money at it. Being in the computer gaming industry, I get to be creative and make money out of it, too.
— Charlotte Moore
The date of the interview, as noted, is 1999, so it probably took place during the production of Ultima 9. It’s not a terribly lengthy interview, but it gives a bit of a snapshot into the workaday culture at Origin Systems, as well as hinting at Long’s own rather meteoric rise through the ranks at the company.