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By Ben Simonds
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Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play
Published February 2012
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 718,765
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For nearly four decades, video games have captured the imaginations and drawn the ire of people around the world. Actors play them. Rappers promote them. Politicians want to control them. Even baseball legends make them. Video games are a cultural crossroads where business, entertainment, and technology converge.
Sales of video games, hardware, and accessories reach upwards of $20 billion every year in the United States alone, and more than two-thirds of American households include video games in their daily lives. In a world that seems to be overflowing with fortune and success, the vicious truth of this booming industry is easily forgotten: failure is tradition.
There are a few businesses that have withstood the test of time, but most startups exit as quickly as they enter the scene. Many firms are outpaced by the explosive worldwide growth and economic realities of the sector. In this groundbreaking anthology, successful founders of entertainment software companies reflect on the challenges and how they survived.
GDNet Staff Review:
Way back in the personal computer stone-age of the mid-1980's, an influential book of interviews with programmers came out. This book was Programmers At Work. And, while it's an interesting relic to see how some of the influential programmers (Charles Simonyi, Dan Bricklin, Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates and Pac Man writer Toru Iwatani) have fared in the intervening 25 years, the book is more of a curiosity than a call to action nowadays.
Gamers at Work is part of a small series (Gamers at Work, Coders at Work, Founders at Work) of interviews with people who are influential in the industry. And, interestingly, some of the names would have been recognized at the time of Programmers at Work, like Ken Williams, Nolan Bushnell, and Trip Hawkins. But the book doesn't just chronicle past successes. There are some contemporary success stories. The interviews are well-done, and there's plenty to learn from all of their successes and failures. There's no real knowledge of coding to be gleaned. But programming isn't just coding. It's knowing how to get things done. And these interviews are with people who got things done.
And, something I can't say about many books I get, it is an enjoyable read. The author does an excellent job of interviewing. The interviews never feel "canned" or like a twenty questions.
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