Linden High School students got a unique chance to discuss the future of technology and the gaming industry during a virtual meeting with an LHS alumnus who works for top online publications in those areas.
Students in the LHS Gaming Club, TV/Digital Media class, and others met on Tuesday, Tuesday, Feb. 22, with Andrew Melnizek, who graduated from LHS in 2005 and is now the senior brand director at Polygon and The Verge, two online publications that cover the technology and gaming industries.
The meeting was arranged by LHS librarian Maria Pereira Colish, who also happens to be Melnizek’s mother. Colish worked with teacher David Reyes, who is adviser to the Gaming Club, to bring students together for the special enrichment session.
“After I spoke with the students, most shared they were really surprised to learn how varied a career in digital media marketing could be and were excited the field is continually expanding,” Colish said. “Students also shared that Andrew’s message resonated with them to ‘remain curious’ and ‘to pursue what interests you.’ ”
Melnizek spoke to them from Los Angeles about his career path and how he approaches his work on a daily basis.
“I play a lot of games, I watch a lot of movies, I consume a lot of media, I read a lot of news,” he told the students, who watched and listened to him over Webex in the LHS Learning Commons. “If you’re working in this space you want to be a consumer. You want to have critical thinking and perspective about these things. If you work in a creative space, it helps you become arguably a better creator because you are informed by your experiences, and all that matters.”
Students asked him questions about reviewing games; the future of gaming technology including virtual reality; computer animation and graphic design; e-sports; and his favorite games.
Reyes said the meeting made it real for students that video games are a passion they can pursue into adulthood.
“Our students know that both journalism and the gaming industry at large are run by adults, but knowing and KNOWING are two different things,” he said. “One student told me, ‘It was interesting seeing an adult talking about video games. Besides you Mr. Reyes.’ ”
Melnizek also touched on how much is too much when it comes to game playing.
“It’s a tricky subject because yes it’s important that we are not watching movies and TV and playing games and being consumed by media all the time. That’s not healthy. But it’s like anything else in life. You need to have balance,” Melnizek said.
“Sometimes parents or people who are not as familiar with games as me will say, ‘How do I get my kids to stop playing so many games?’ My first question will be, ‘What game are they playing? Do you know what they’re doing? Why don’t you know? Why don’t you have a conversation with them and be more informed?’
“Creating that dialogue between families is important.”