Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review - The Crazy Careers of Video Game Designers


The Crazy Careers of Video Game Designers

By: Arie Kaplan
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication Date: August 2013
ISBN: 978-1467715867
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: November 2013

Having a career in the field of video game design would be the way to go and would be one way to justify all those gaming hours. Wait, it’s not all that easy and there are definitely a lot of career possibilities to consider and jobs to take a close look at. There are “indie [independent] game companies,” small companies or people who design video games from A to Z, but for the most part, it takes a lot of people to create just one game. If you seriously want a career in the industry it will “require lots of studying, reading, and work.” Time to put down that controller for a while and hit the books.
The game designer is the central person in the creation of a game. He or she “ensures everyone is doing the game properly.” If even one thing is out of sync the flow of the game will be interrupted. 

The game designer’s job all boils down to one thing and that’s to “make sure the game is fun for players.” Would you be a gamer if the games were boring? Probably not. A game designer isn’t the only career option in the field. There’s the level designer, sound designer, environment artist, combat designer, game writer, programmer, character artist, rigger, animator, and last, but not least, the QA.
Throughout this book, you’ll learn all about the people who have chosen these particular career paths. You can probably easily figure out what artists, game writers, programmers, and animators do, but you might be clueless about some of the others. A level designer “decides where and when the game takes place” for starters, but also does things such as making those levels we are all familiar with. Have you ever tried to “beat each level” only to have something like a “fire-breathing dragon” defeat you? In this book, you’ll take a look at all the “crazy careers” in the world of video games. Still don’t know what a QA is? You will once you’ve finished this book!

This is a fun and fascinating look at careers in the video game world that will amaze young readers. This book opens up the world of video game design and shows youngsters a wide array of careers they could consider or simply dream about. The layout of the book comes alive with full-color photographs, including those of people who hold very unusual, but essential jobs like the riggers. For example, one photograph shows an actor wearing “a special suit covered in sensors that look like Ping-Pong balls.” Included is a down-to-earth chart showing the varying careers, the needed skills, what classes a student will need to take, and the average salary (2011). In the back of the book is an index and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.

Quill says: Young readers will be mesmerized by this book as they learn about the crazy career paths they one day make take!