Erin Sullivan checks in

Still image from Driftwood — Illustration by Izu and Alexis

After 18 is an ongoing series about what four graduates from the class of 2013 are doing this year. This week’s dispatch is the second from Erin Sullivan, who is working on a video game and contemplating his next move.

The past few months have been excessively hectic compared to my usual life, and it’s been pretty taxing. It’s not often I don’t work on my writing for extended periods of time, but with applying to college, trying to increase my art skills, managing the development of the team for “Driftwood” (the computer game I am developing), and taking a small break in November to check up on an old friend in Canada who was suicidal, it was difficult getting motivated to write.

Before I say anything more, I want to express myself a bit on the Canada part. If you have a friend, or a family member who is suicidal or has tried committing suicide, don’t wait for others to step into their lives and help them. DO IT YOURSELF. There are some restrictions, yes, but make an effort to reach out to them. Call them, text them, or be crazy like me, pay $700 and hop on a plane to go visit them and help them sort out a few of their problems. Memories of relationships are forever. Money comes and goes. Don’t take people for granted, or anything for that matter. But now let’s move on.

I’ve applied to Digipen Institute of Technology; a university in Washington State designed to push graduates towards the gaming industry. I’ve applied for a BA in Game Design and a BFA in Digital art and Animation. I’m awaiting the results, but depending on them, my life is going to change drastically. If I get accepted, I’ll be moving across the country and deciding which path I want to fully follow, but if I’m not accepted, I’ll be dropping everything, aside from Driftwood, and trying my best to get myself into a semi-pro league. Semi-pro leagues are like a college football team, you don’t get paid to play, and in some cases only win when you win certain tournaments, but if you do well enough, you can raise the attention of teams that play competitively in an online circuit for money, similar to how players are brought into the NFL.

In short, if I don’t get accepted, I’d be pursuing a career as someone who plays a video game so well that they get sponsors and are paid to perform, quite similar to regular sport athletes. (Yes, this is actually a thing.) But the bigger picture is what happens if I do get accepted. I’d be moving across the country and living on my own for the first time in my life, going to school and possibly having a part time job to help pay for tuition and food.

I’m not entirely sure if I’m ready for that kind of lifestyle, but I’m certainly excited to try it. I’ve lived away from home numerous times, the longest being an entire summer with family friends while I was interning at their software company, Gearbox. But moving away entirely, and not returning home for long periods of time, would be a huge change. Aside from my roommate, I’d be on my own.

On the Driftwood-side of things, we’ve been more productive as a team during the past few weeks than the entirety of 2013. Things are really starting to look up. I still can’t express my gratitude to those who pledged on the kickstarter page, which managed to accumulate 8,000 dollars towards the project. I’m content to say that within the next few months, a completed, playable version of Act 1 will be available online if we continue at the rate we’ve been progressing recently.

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about the project, visit

You’re always welcome to send me questions or comments there, or at my personal email.