Many of us who cross over from the realm of game-playing to the jungle of game-making feel lost and frustrated. Luckily, there have been a fair number of travel guides written over the past couple years describing this confusing jump into the video game industry. _How To Get A Job In Video Games_, written by Ken Flemming, is one of these new books providing an inside look at how the dedicated video game developer, whether in art, design, or programming, can turn their video game passion into a career. Should you, an aspiring video game creator, invest in this traveler’s companion, or try hacking your own pathway to a AAA game company?
Flemming provides one of the most concisely written video game books yet. His short sentences stick together nicely and land with surprising impact. The style reminded me of Goldberg’s “Zen Writing” in Writing Down the Bones, with short chapters that make the book read much more like a manual than a novel. In many ways, this prolongs the book’s shelf life, as I expect to return to Flemming’s book often in my journey through the mysterious game industry. The book is grounded in a realistic attitude that reflects the author’s extensive experience within the industry itself. There is little sugar coating or tale weaving to be read here.
While there are some revelations to be had, much of the book brings up common sense rather than shocking details. This doesn’t mean it’s watered down, however; sections scrutinizing the costs versus rewards of college or reminding rookies how to interact at conferences feel familiar but fresh. There are just some cases where the writing does ramble into common knowledge (how to be nice or how to interview). It is convenient to have each step of the job hunt process detailed in one book, but I found myself a little ahead of the writing during these sections.
As Flemming reminds the reader in the opening section, his book can be applied to many creative industries. This is no exaggeration; for a person searching for inklings in getting a job as a writer in the video game industry, I felt well-fed by the end of the 162 pages. Flemming uses his own career as an environmental artist to illustrate one timeline of a person climbing the industry’s ladder, starting with training (“learn to be autodidactic, or self-taught”), going through landing a first job, and then ending with maintaining a career and escaping the QA department. While an artist would gain chests of knowledge from Flemming’s advice, any discipline in the business can learn from what he has to offer.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who plans on taking a stab at the video game industry. Unlike other books about the business, _How To Get A Job In Video Games_ is clearly written, and although it hits road bumps along the way, it marks a solid foundation to work from when breaking into video games. Flemming provides a valuable traveler’s companion, full of tips stemming from experience that can turn a video game rookie into an employable artist.