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America's Next Top Newell: Valve Pipeline

Valve wants to hire everyone. Or at least, it would if everyone conformed to an incredibly specific set of creative standards and sported brains heaving with so much intelligence that nearby rodents exploded into academic journals at mere exposure to their thoughts. Unsurprisingly, Valve tends to focus on those with tremendous amounts of previous experience and reports of startlingly low rodent populations in their wake. Valve Pipeline, however, is the antithesis of that. The game wearer (and maker) of many hats is attempting to cultivate its own crop by sucking the brightest minds of tomorrow into its oozing brain tubules.

The website’s aim is to give teenagers a look behind-the-scenes of Valve’s process, with updates coming from high-school-age interns. Here’s Valve’s explanation:

“There are two main reasons that Valve is creating Pipeline. The first is that we are frequently asked questions by teenagers about the videogame industry. ‘What is it like to work on videogames? What should I study? What colleges are best for preparing me? How do I get a job in videogames?’ Pipeline will be a place where those questions can be discussed.”

“The second is that Valve is running an experiment. Traditionally Valve has been a very good place for very experienced videogame developers, and not so good at teaching people straight out of school (the reasons for this and the tradeoffs are covered in the Valve employee handbook). Pipeline is an experiment to see if we can take a group of high school students with minimal work experience and train them in the skills and methods necessary to be successful at a company like Valve.”

And then Valve will open up a school in which Gabe Newell and a cast of lovably curmudgeonly professors will teach wise-cracking students valuable lessons about both game development and life. There will be copious shenanigans, musicals, and still no Half-Life 3.

Seriously though, more information will be available “within the next month or so”. I think Pipeline’s goal is admirable too – though again, Valve is said to march to the beat of its own drum, no matter which version of that story you buy. Will the knowledge students mine from this database be applicable elsewhere? Hopefully. But now, onto real issues:¬†Goodness, some of those teenagers had horrendous posture. The future is coming, and it has severe spinal problems at age 25.

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