It is every kid’s dream to make video games for a living, or so I’m frequently told. Like many industries, video game development is far different on the inside than anyone on the outside expects. When I first started working in the games industry, it was a wake-up call for me– a lot of the things I thought were important weren’t, and a lot of the things I prided myself on were eclipsed by everyone around me.
The games industry is an interesting place, a blend of creative, technical, and organizational needs unlike most other industries. It is full of joy, full of bitterness, a place of great hope and pride and a volatile, catastrophe-ridden place all at once. In many ways, it is a great equalizer, where people of many different life experiences come together and work together as equals. In other ways, it is seriously flawed, with certain backgrounds, ethnicities, social statuses, and even genders mostly or entirely unrepresented.
It is an industry of laudable triumphs and embarrassing failures, of dizzying highs and crushing lows. In and among it all, for me, are the stories. Video games are often a storytelling medium, and as such those who create them have many, many stories of their own. The industry is surprisingly small, and a story told over drinks one night at a convention becomes legend when retold five years later in another country.
This is the industry I live in and love, and sometimes find enraging. It’s like a family.