I've gotten a few "decided to interview applicants with experience that more specifically meets our needs" letters, both via email and the post. And more than a few scam responses (which I used to fuel an article that I'm currently trying to find a home for. If you have any ideas on what sort of publication (other than Wired, which is my first choice) could use an informative article on OSCARS (online scam artists) who are targetting job-seekers on the internet, let me know...)
Most applications, however, disappear into the great unemployed abyss that job-seekers are all so very familiar with. It's a dead zone that consumes applications, resumes and cover letters with a voracious hunger the likes of which has never been seen outside of a Golden Corral on Sunday afternoon.
I did, however get a response from a game company in the UK yesterday, however. It sent me to do a three-part online test, to judge my creativity, ease in describing game mechanics, and ability with pseudocoding. The creativity and game mechanics parts weren't intimidating to me at all, but to be honest, I'd never even heard the word psuedocoding before. Being the good little technoboggan that I am, however, I did some research and I don't feel entirely bad about the entry I submitted. (Like the creativity and game mechanics portions, it was a 30 minute test, and I turned in what I think is a good (for a non-programmer) aproximation of a pseudocode that fit the criteria. It's been way too long since my one coding class in college.
For your amusement, however, here's my entry for the game mechanics portion. I was given 30 minutes to describe the game mechanics of ... Rock, Paper, Scissors... I guess all those years playing OWOD Camarilla LARP came in handy after all!
Rock, Paper, Scissors: A simple game of challenge
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a game played by two individuals. It requires no equipment other than the human body, and can be played with no set-up or clean-up. Because it is very quick to learn, as well as to play, it is frequently used for determining a "winner" in a multitude of situations, but can also be played as its own game for entertainment.
Upon determining that the game will be played, two individuals face one another at approximately arm's reach apart. The space between the two players (which we will refer to as the play-space) should be clear of breakable objects or other individuals who could be injured during the course of game play.
Each player mentally chooses from one of three given symbols (see Symbols below), without telling the other which he has chosen. Each player then forms the hand-signal for that symbol behind his back (most often with the right hand, although the left may be used equally as well.)
At a set signal (normally a count of "One, Two, Three) both players move the hand with which they are forming their hand-signals into the play-space in a clear and decisive motion. Both players should be able to see each other's hand-signal, and once the count has been completed and the players' hands begin to move from behind their back towards the play space, their symbols (and hand-signals) are not allowed to change. (See Fist Bounce below for an alternate to the behind-the-back method of hiding one's symbol.)
The two hand-signals are then compared, and a specific set of criteria (see Outcome below) are used to determine which player's symbol is superior to the other. The player with the superior symbol "wins" the challenge.
Three basic symbols are used for playing Rock, Scissors, Paper. These are: Rock (symbolized by a balled fist, turned fingers downward), Scissors (symbolized by a hand held sideways with the pointer and middle finger extended and the rest of the fingers and thumb balled into a fist) and Paper (symbolized by an outstretched hand, palm down, fingers held together in a flat plane.)
A simple comparison is used to determine which player's symbol is superior to the other. This comparison is made easy to remember by virtue of the symbols representing real-life objects and a proximity of how those objects might interact.
Rock is superior to Scissors. This is often remembered as "Rock breaks Scissors".
Scissors are superior to Paper. This is often remembered as "Scissors cut Paper".
Paper is superior to Rock. This is often remembered as "Paper covers Rock".
If two identical symbols are chosen, there is no winner, and the players tie. Most often, the challenge is begun again as if the tie had not happened, with the winner of the second challenge serving as the victor.
Some players prefer not to hide their fists behind their back, but instead begin the game with each player having a fist extended out into the play-space. On the count of "One, Two" the players bounce their balled fist up and down (once with each count) and then when the count of Three is given the fist is changed into whichever hand-signal the player has chosen. This allows for a greater possibility of quick-thinking players determining their opponent's symbol and choosing their own to beat it, however, and so it may not be preferable for important challenges.
The game of Rock, Paper, Scissors can be used in any situation where a winner needs to be determined. It can also be used as its own entertainment device, with a series of challenges thrown and the winner being the individual who wins the majority of challenges. In the case of "Best of Five", for example, players throw a series of five sets of challenges, and the player who wins the majority of them is the winner of the game overall.
Other variations of the game exist which incorporate a variety of other symbols. These include things like Lizard, Spock, Fire, and the like and are, for the most part, not considered to be part of the classic game.