The cookie that changed my life
Created by Nicholas on 10/12/2014
It was 1996 and I was a mid-career Concept Designer working in the LA theme park and TV industries. In spite of my SoCal client engagements I lived in Northern California with my family.
One day I got a call from a headhunter to visit a local game company for a possible position. On the day of the interview I had been up all night on a previously booked deadline. I arrived for the interview enthusiastic but running on fumes.
The environment was classic Silicon valley. It was a large open-air white space with inspirational slogans writ large on selective, primary colored walls.
Upscale designer cubicles broke up the floor space. I was ushered into a sterile, unfurnished waiting area where I sat in mild curiosity sniffing startup capital hard at work all around me. After a few minutes a delightfully cheery man popped in from around a corner. He was wearing a starched white shirt, his pants were held up by britches and he was holding a silver tray bearing tea and cookies. The cookies were imported and chocolate coated on one side. His accent and tone was smooth and impeccably rehearsed as he offered me both with a bright twinkle in his eye. As I sat in a delicate metabolic state between AM deadline and PM interview, I was struck by this moment of pure cheer and civility. I remember thinking, "well, I don't know much about game companies, but this guy is a kindred soul, this tea is piping and these cookies are absolutely first rate". The interview went fine, but as a cultural indicator it was really Mark and his tea tray that tipped my decision to join.
I ended up befriending the founders of that company. In the succeeding decades we started two other companies together. Over all that time, and at each of those companies, Mark remained a close friend and collaborator, helping to craft backstories, characters and features for games.
In time, our collaborations continued and ultimately transcended the companies that either of us worked for. We brainstormed, blueskied, wrote and drew together. But mostly we just laughed and laughed and laughed. Mark and his voice became part of my creative process, sometimes in person, sometimes in spirit. We drank from the same wells of inspiration, and listened to the whisperings of the same muses. Mark's spirit will continue to resonate through and guide all my creative explorations to the end of my days.
You will be dearly missed my brother.