Jennell Jaquays: The Reinvented Girl

Most of her fans and peers know Jennell Jaquays for the body of work she created using the name "Paul Jaquays" through-out the course of her career as an artist and game developer working on role play gaming and computer and video game development projects.

She began her career in the mid 70s while still attending Spring Arbor College, as a pioneering artist and designer in the area of pre-created game adventures for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) pencil and paper role-playing game by way of the D&D fan magazine, The Dungeoneer. She moved on to designing and directing the design of video games for Coleco in the early 80s; then on to freelancing as an artist, writer, editor, and game designer after that up until the early 90s when she joined TSR, Inc., the publisher of Dungeons and Dragons as a cover illustrator. In March of 1997 she took up level designing for id Software before moving on to Ensemble Studios in early 2002 to take a postion as a content designer on a prototyping team, then later moved over to the art team to work on Age of Empires III and Halo Wars.

Beginning in August of 2009, Jennell joined CCP North America near Atlanta, Georgia working as Lead Level Designer on the World of Darkness MMO, based on the White Wolf role play game, Vampire the Masquerade.

Jennell Jaquays’ early career is best defined by her designs for RPG adventures like Dark Tower and Caverns of Thraciafor Judges Guild and Griffin Mountain for Chaosium. As eventual Director of Game Design at Coleco, she had a hand in nearly every video game coming out for ColecoVision and the ADAM Computer. As a freelancer, she wrote and edited quite a few more role-playing game adventures for TSR, designed the encounters for Interplay’s version of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, vol. 1) and lost count of the number of illustrations she drew and painted for numerous publishers. As a TSR Illustrator, she’s is best known for a distinctive bright red dragon that was used on the cover of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons boxed game adventure, Dragon Mountain and later on the Dragonlance story collection, Dragons of Krynn. She is equally proud of the large number of distinctive dice icons (and covers) that she created for the Dragon Dice and Marvel Dice games.

She left TSR, for id Software in early 1997, changing careers (again) from artist to level designer. While at id she created levels that appeared in Quake 2, Quake III: Arena, and Quake III: Team Arena. She is also noted for promoting the Quake 3 community through her work with the Quake 3 World forums and writing user documentation for the Quake 3 Engine tools that not only encouraged the development of user-created content, but more importantly, facilitated revenue generation through the numerous licensed products that used the engine.

At Microsoft/Ensemble Studios, she worked on art content for Age of Empires III (mostly Home Cities) and the expansion for it The War Chiefs (general art responsibilites, including Home Cities and many Native American units) She recently worked on the art side of multiplayer map creation for Halo Wars, a real time strategy game for the XBox 360 based on Bungie's Halo game franchise.

In addition to her work as a game designer, Jennell Jaquays has been instrumental in establishing Guildhall at SMU, a graduate level game development program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Along with the likes of veteran developers Graeme Devine, Sandy Petersen, Richard "levelord" Gray, John Romero, and Tom Hall, Jennell Jaquays helped develop an intense curriculum that teaches students to be game developers in the course of less than two years. She is responsible for designing the original art for games curriculum. Jennell's son Zach graduated with the Summer 2005 class of Guildhall, focusing on art for games and spent a year with Ensemble Studios working on both Age of Empires III and The War Chiefs, then working with Red Fly Studios in Austin, TX and now Controlled Chaos Media in Dallas, TX as an artist.

At the end of July in 2012, Jennell parted company with CCP North America to take a position as Chief Creative Officer for Olde Skuul ( (Olde Skuul)), joining forces with three other veteran game development women as one of the company's four co-founders. She also re-launched her former design studio (Jaquays Design Studio) as Dragongirl Studios and began taking on freelance art and design assignments.

In August of 2012, Jennell re-launched her former design studio (Jaquays Design Studio) as Dragongirl Studios and began taking on freelance art and design assignments.

Jennell has a son (Zach), and a daughter (Amanda) who are finding their way into careers involving entertainment, despite all sensible attempts to warn them off. Jennell currently resides in Seattle, Washington with her fiancee Rebecca Heineman and her long-time feline companion, Charlie.

She is absolutely certain that the future will be about changes. :)



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