By Lisa Brunette
We're pleased to announce Jenna Hume's promotion from writer | designer I to II. She joined us a year ago at the writer | editor level, quickly proving she has what it takes to succeed as a game writer as well as designer. She earned her first promotion after her initial six weeks on the job. Now, a year later, she's earned yet another promotion. It's been an eventful year for Jenna, having worked on six released games already, with many more new titles now in development. During this time, she also managed to execute a gamer-themed, pandemic-era wedding (you might have known her as Jenna 'Faulkner'), a honeymoon, and a move to a new apartment. Whew!
Around the BG virtual office, she's been nicknamed "the silent killer" for her knack at nailing client briefs and getting a record four original game concepts accepted in just her first year. Jenna's also the type who thinks long and hard before she speaks - but when she does, you want to listen. I realize I'm dating myself with this reference, but I've given her a second nickname, "E.F. Hutton," as in the vintage commercials:
She came to us with an MFA in Creative Writing already in hand, and she's put it to excellent use with her crafty balance of drama and humor in our clients' game dialogue. Because she's a longtime casual gamer herself, she understands what players experience and want to see in a game. She and her husband even met while playing Pokémon GO.
Join me in congratulating Jenna on the new promotion, not to mention a highly successful launch of her game-writing career. If you're planning to attend GDC, you can congratulate her in person, as she and Dexter Woltman will both be in attendance, representing Brunette Games. We look forward to seeing what she slays in 2022!
Many of the games we write feature a garden as a key renovation space. In Merge Mansion and Lily's Garden, the garden is the main game-play focus - at least at the game's outset. Lily's great aunt was a somewhat eccentric gardener and beekeeper, and in Merge Mansion, Grandma Ursula seems mysteriously reluctant to step back inside the mansion she's kept hidden away all these years. That's quite all right, as Maddie's pretty content to putter around outside. While the grounds are secondary to the interior decorating in Matchington Mansion, it's an exciting moment when you move out to tackle the overgrown yard, especially when your neighbor-the-gardener shows up. The first thing the protagonist in Ava's Manor does is spruce up the garden, before she's even set foot inside the old British manor. And while we love decorating the many shops in Sweet Escapes, it's the outside areas that often pique our greatest interest: Who can forget the moment when Duncan jumps through the giant donut hole?
Designing and writing within garden spaces comes naturally to us. Half our team is comprised of avid gardeners, and even those who are relegated to apartment living excel at indoor houseplants. Dexter and Anthony both grew up in farming families. Sara inherited a native plant garden when she and her husband bought their first house last year, and Anthony and Lisa own a 1/4-acre plot of land they've transformed to something they call a 'homestead habitat.' They even blog about the project.
So when we mulled over how to go about our year-end giving for 2021, we naturally thought of gardens. Two organizations stood out as great candidates for our support: Wild Ones and Seed St. Louis.
This past year, the St. Louis chapter of the national organization Wild Ones blew the doors off membership, growing to become the largest chapter in the U.S. It's easy to see why, as the community here is super volunteer-focused, with active citizen involvement and a great deal of cooperation between organizations when they can share a mission. One example is the St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home program, which enjoys terrific support from Wild Ones in their shared mission to promote native plant gardening.
Founded in 1998, Wild Ones encourages landscaping with native plants in residential, business, and public landscapes. They accomplish this through monthly gatherings at member gardens, grants for native plants to schools and organizations, educational outreach, and annual plant and seed sales and giveaways. Brunette Games is happy to support this important organization.
Lisa has fond memories as a volunteer during her college years at Saint Louis University in the 1990s, putting in community gardens for a group called Gateway Greening. The organization is still around and serving as a tremendous resource for urban and suburban gardeners, though they've just changed their name to Seed St. Louis. Anthony and Lisa have personally benefitted from the plethora of free workshops on topics like 'how to create an organic backyard orchard' and 'how to extend your growing season.' Seed St. Louis also sells seeds they save from their demonstration garden directly to the public for as little as a dollar a packet, and their 'New Kuroda' carrot variety is phenomenal.
Since 1984, Seed St. Louis has connected people to the land, to their food, and to each other. The organization supports a network of more than 250 community gardens, school gardens, and urban orchards in neighborhoods throughout the St. Louis region. Their purpose is to provide communities with the tools, education, and empowerment to grow their own food.
With crucial issues like climate change and food security top of mind for all of us, Brunette Games is proud to support this amazing organization.
We also want to take this opportunity to thank our clients for trusting us with your game stories. Our work together throughout the year is our joy and sustenance. And finally, a shout out to all the people who play the games we help design; without you, none of this would be possible.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!