I occasionally get emails from people asking how they might work for a company that creates ARGs; many of these people are students. Since the question is repeatedly asked, I thought I’d put my answer here in case it interests anyone else.
As far as ARG design goes (rather than, say, programming the backend or art design), there aren’t any specific degrees that we look for. Since writing, plotting and interaction are all large parts of ARGs, we do look for people who have skills in those areas, but to be honest, it’s hard to gauge that from a university degree.
What we tend to look for is experience. Writing a book, running a play or TV show, or designing a text adventure game are all related to ARGs and provide useful experience on different facets of creating an ARG. Ultimately though, we want people who have a real understanding of the challenges and potential of ARGs, and if people can show that to us – through something they write, something they do, through a demo game, or anything else – then we’ll be very interested.
Mind Candy is always looking for good designers, and even if we can’t find a place for them immediately, we always keep them in mind for future projects. I should point out that we do prefer to work with people based in the UK though. Other companies such as 42 are similarly on the lookout, but let’s face it – the ARG genre is not especially large. There aren’t that many games running, and there aren’t they many companies creating them.
If you are really passionate about ARGs, I would think about running one yourself, or at least planning one. Whether or not it has great art design or brilliant programming is really besides the point – if it works well given your resources, then everyone will be impressed. That’ll require a good understanding of the problems involved in ARG design, and exploring where you might be able to improve on previous ARGs. If the game goes well or it’s a good design, then it’ll help a lot in attracting attention and getting a job.