Paperback - USA - 1st edition.
Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry is a non-fiction book about the tumultuousness of life in the video game industry written by Jason Schreier and published on 2021-05-11.
Schreier explains why video game companies are so frequently shut down, sometimes even after creating hit games, and why it's so hard for people to find stability in the video game industry. He does this by interviewing people in all areas of video game development including designers, artists, and business executives.
|Read?||Audiobook read by Ray Chase.|
After enjoying Extra Lives, I was eager to start another book about video games, and this one caught my eye. When I first started reading it, I didn't think I was going to like it because it sounded like it was going to be about as interesting as reading about payroll problems, but Schreier tells interesting stories and covers a lot of different people, so I kept at it.
- Schreier collected a lot of stories from the video game industry, most of which are personal interviews conducted especially for this book. This is breath of fresh air compared to all the video game books that are mostly secondhand accounts and hearsay. Since the book focuses on the lives of developers, it's far more interesting than a historical account of a company.
- Schreier interviewed video game creators at various levels of development including executives, producers, designers, and artists. This helps give a much broader view of the industry as a whole and let's the reader see things from the perspective of different people.
- The book really helps shed some light on the problems in the video game industry, most of which are similar to those facing other entertainment industries. Executives get paid obscene wages while doing none of the creative work, and those people who actually make the games are tossed out like used tissues the moment production is done. Many of them are fired before the game is even played. It really shows why indie developers should be given more support.
- Near the end of the book, Schreier lists several ways the video game industry can change to become more stable. Notably, by developers distancing themselves from publishers which treat executives vastly superior to the creative talent and, when that isn't possible, by forming worker unions to demand proper treatment.
- I think more work could have been done to juggle the time lines of related stories. For example, the book describes the rise and fall of 38 Studios, which includes the acquisition of Big Huge Games. Then, in a later chapter, it talks about THQ selling Big Huge Games to 38 Studios, which ends up repeating a lot of the same information, just from the perspective of a BHG employee. It feels like these two stories could have been merged so the reader wouldn't have to re-read a lot of the same information.
- The book is honest, but this paints a pretty grim picture of the video game industry. By the end of the book, you'll have read about dozens of development and publishing companies that have out of business, the displacement of thousands of people, many of whom, despite their talent and dedication, lost much of their livelihood.
- "Ask any veteran video game developer their least favorite thing about the industry and you’ll probably get a different version of the same answer: it treats people poorly. It chews them up and then spits them back out, leaving nothing but gristle and bones behind."
- "'Launching an indie game is like—I just picture a lonely dude in a party hat and a folding chair,' said Dowling. 'A single confetti falls from the ceiling.'"
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Schreier - Wikipedia - Author's page.