Lance Eaton's Reviews > Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier
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bookshelves: 2018, audiobooks, technology-and-society, reviewed-books

Schreier provides a bird's eye view of the development process of some of the most established games of the late 2000s and 2010s. Through some 100 interviews, he explores a mixture of indie games to mega-production games and how they came into being (including one that did not). Each chapter delves into a different game and Schreier creates a narrative structural arc of how the game concept came into being to how it was released, including appropriate quotes and context as needed, often ending the story just after launch (sometimes with a follow up of 1-2 years after). In general, the chapters provide great contrasts such as when he explores the development off indie games like Stardew Valley (an ode to Harvest Moon) or Shovel Knight (a 2-D side-scroller in the tradition of Mega-Man) compared to Uncharted 4, Halo Wars, and The Witcher 3. These explorations enlighten readers, especially those with little knowledge of the video game industry, insight into the extensive work needed for each and every game that they may be picking up. His insights are revealing and information on how and why there are delays, the attention to detail that most game-developers provide for their game, and the challenges of having to rethink and redo entire sections (if not the entire game)--and how heartbreaking or frustrating that can be for the developers. A poorly developed theme in the book is about how much the game industry is reliant on crunch--that is, the process leading up to the game release where all involved in a game's launch are expected to be "All hands on deck" and work ridiculous hours to make it to release date. He mentions it fairly consistently and his conclusion would lead one to believe that he has provided an in-depth analysis of it. Yet the reality is, his critique with this issue in the game industry (an issue it is as it requires those involve to forsake their mental, physical, and emotional health to meet an often artificial deadline) feel empty; mentioning it but not really digging into the elements that allow it, the research that could challenge the logic in it, and such. Despite that, the book is still a fascinating trek into the world of video game development that many will appreciate and others find illuminating, particularly if they tend to think of video games as irrelevant and simple things.

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Reading Progress

Started Reading
November 8, 2018 – Shelved
November 8, 2018 – Shelved as: 2018
November 8, 2018 – Shelved as: audiobooks
November 8, 2018 – Shelved as: technology-and-society
November 8, 2018 – Shelved as: reviewed-books
November 8, 2018 – Finished Reading

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