Review: Gamers At Work
Things We Liked:Interviews with all sorts of important gaming figures.
Things We Hated:Dry, Little creativity in presentation
Author and interviewer Morgan Ramsay has gone out of his way to present a book that is lean on filler. Like an over-zealous work-out junkie Gamers at Work gives no indication that it even understands the concept of filler. This is as content-driven and streamlined as it gets. Gamers at Work, a book filled with [...]
Author and interviewer Morgan Ramsay has gone out of his way to present a book that is lean on filler. Like an over-zealous work-out junkie Gamers at Work gives no indication that it even understands the concept of filler. This is as content-driven and streamlined as it gets. Gamers at Work, a book filled with interviews of various important members of the video game community, transitions from interview to interview without fuss. The text includes highlights and insights from some very influential people in the industry including Nolan Bushnell, Co-founder of Atari, Trip Hawkins, Founder of Electronic Arts, and Christopher Weaver Founder of Bethesda Softworks just to name a couple. Introductory pages are included for the various interviewees. For new-comers to the topic of Video Game History it’s a nice touch that helps give each person a face that is not the company they represent.
Much like the industry itself the interviews are stark and blunt. For the most part the subjects don’t pull any punches and are open and willing to talk about their past in the gaming industry.
They go through their various trials and tribulations, telling of extreme failures or sadness over projects that never saw the light of day. They paint a less malicious and cutthroat view of a world that has become much more so. That is not to say there was not competition. People will rise and people will fall and for each of these successes, many others had to lay out their time and careers. These others are the people who are not enshrined in the annals of video game lore.
Looking at this title as a consumer, there would be little to no chance that you would pick this book up on a whim. The title (once you realize that the book is not about addicted gaming youths trying to enter the work force) , as well as the cover require the reader to have a very keen interest in the historical figures amid Video Gaming’s past. Free tour pamphlets for such national monuments as Mount Rushmore seem, at first glance, to be as exciting a read.
My gripe with this project is that there may be just a bit too much of the same coming at you. I realize that each person has their own unique tale to tell but for the most part they follow similar paths. The message here is that if you want something go and get it, like any inspirational business book. The people who are interviewed here experienced failure after failure and they talk about them candidly, but each had their success. There wouldn’t be much point in having them in the book otherwise
Limiting the total number of interviews, tackling different points of view or making a narrative of one or two of the interviewees would have been more approachable from a readers standpoint. Ramsay has a formula to his interviews and he sticks to it. Scientifically speaking, that’s great.
Perhaps it would have been painful to include stories where people tried and tried only to have limited success, but success that would become something more. Perhaps the writer thought there was no merit including interviews with people who were not at the helm, but it would have illustrated an interesting point, one that we know exists but is barely touched on. For every founder of Atari or visionary creator, there are thousands that try and are never rewarded, those that can taste just a small portion of success but can not quite break through.
The canvas here holds a sunnier portrait. One in black and white that describes how hard work, dedication and perseverance can get you to your goals. Through these interviews we are given a primer on the very foundations of the gaming industry. At this point you could say that the market is saturated with speculation as to where the gaming industry will be going but how many gamer’s know where it came from?
From that standpoint, how many care?