From author to Nintendo game designer

 Dave Proctor will share his story at Global Entrepreneurship Day on Nov. 19 

Image of Game designer Dave Proctor

Game designer Dave Proctor | Photo: Alex Rushdy

Dave Proctor is a guy a lot of people might envy.

He started Wooden Rocket Press, an independent publishing company, in 2009, a year after graduating from University of Toronto with a degree in English literature and cinema studies. While self-publishing two novellas and running the company, he realized it was still largely a hobby.

“I wasn’t able to kick it up a notch to the next step,” Proctor said.

Proctor’s creative and writing skills, along with the enjoyment of occasionally programming a website, gave him to the idea to pursue a career in game design.

In search of a small postgraduate environment, he set his eyes on George Brown’s video game design advanced diploma.

“There was no similar program anywhere else,” he explains. Besides, they did not require a portfolio of his game development skills. “I was not an artist, or modeller, or programmer. I brought samples of my writing and they accepted it.”

Going back to school after a seven-year break was not challenging for Proctor.

“I was nervous and had doubts for about a day and then I got over it” he said adding that his wife told him it was never a bad idea to learn something new. “I just keep remembering that because it actually never was.”

The people he met at the program still affect him, he sees them every day. For the 2014 Toronto Global Game Jam Proctor partnered with eight classmates to create the game Runbow and found 13AM Games.

“It proved to be really fun, something we wanted to explore. When Nintendo expressed its interest, we thought we should legitimize ourselves – and now we have an office,” says Proctor.

Proctor said working with former classmates is both easy and hard.

“It is easy because we share a vision and know each other’s story. We are all in this together,” he explains. “The difficult part is that you have a company with nine people,” he says laughing. Although he is the managing director, Proctor emphasizes they are “a company owned by employees.”

“I started my own company that is my sole source of income and released a game on the Nintendo platform! I still haven’t processed how incredible that is,” said Proctor.

Students can hear Proctor speak as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Day at George Brown College on Nov. 19, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 290 Adelaide St. E. (St. James campus, building C), room 406.

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From author to Nintendo game designer