Alex Lucas, '09, English and French, Content Writer, Microsoft Cortana; Game Writer, Immersed Games
As co-chair of the IGDA Serious Games Special Interest Group and an intersectional feminist, Alexandra actively seeks to harness the power of games to entertain, advocate, and educate. In addition to earning a B.A. in French and English with a creative writing concentration from Wellesley, she studied video game design at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. Alexandra won the Platinum Award twice in the Game Developers Conference (GDC) Game Narrative Review competition, and several of her student games have been showcased at PAX West and the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival. Last year, she co-founded SoYouWantToMake.Games, a boutique consultancy for game industry job applicants, and she was selected as a mentee in the Diversity in Games Alliance’s Amplifying New Voices program.
In addition to delivering career development presentations at PAX Dev 2016 and GDC 2017, Alexandra gave gender studies-focused lectures in late 2017 at PAX Dev, GeekGirlCon, Wellesley, DigiPen, and the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association Conference. She recently wrote a chapter on Asari sexuality in the original Mass Effect trilogy for the anthology Digital Love: Romance & Sexuality in Video Games (Taylor & Francis, 2017), and she is currently writing several entries for The Encyclopedia on Sexism in American Cinema (Akita International University, 2018). In her free time, Alexandra hosts and writes weekly scripts for the Cheat Codes Podcast, which covers current events in video games, technology, and pop culture.
What's been your career path?
My road has been long and winding, from spending a year in the domestic Peace Corps as an AmeriCorps VISTA to briefly studying law in Chicago. I knew that I wanted to help others — Non Ministrari sed Ministrare — and to put my creative writing degree to work, and eventually I found my place in interactive narrative design. DigiPen opened my eyes to the possibility of writing for video games and artificial intelligence, so I steadily created games that showcased my interactive storytelling skills, submitted entries to the GDC Game Narrative Review competition to illustrate my understanding of narrative structure, and built my professional network. Referrals are an integral part of the video game industry; from speaking engagements to contracts to publications, I have secured the vast majority of my interactive narrative opportunities through my colleagues’ recommendations. A diverse and dynamic online portfolio is also a must.
How did your English major prepare you for your career?
The creative writing courses at Wellesley pushed me to think critically about my target audience, story structure, and my potential long-term impact, all of which are vital when it comes to interactive narrative design. In the professional sphere, writing about worlds and characters of your own choosing is a luxury; Wellesley provided me with the creative freedom to tackle taboo topics without judgment or censorship, and class discussions yielded valuable constructive criticism that consistently helped me improve.
Traditional storytelling and cultural sensitivity can also translate to a variety of adjacent fields. I was recruited to Microsoft’s Cortana team due in large part to my history of tackling the challenges related to interactive experiences, my knowledge of compelling narrative structures, and my demonstrated understanding of sexism and LGBTQ+ issues. I owe a great deal of my knowledge in the latter two realms to my time at Wellesley.
Given the rise of AI and personal assistants that are making our lives ever easier — and the increasing demand for disciplined, thoughtful writers to help shape their personalities — there’s really no better time to have a Wellesley English degree in hand.
For more information about Alexandra’s career path, visit her website: https://www.alexandramlucas.com/