Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier

by on November 16th, 2017
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier Cover Image

On October 17, 2017, Electronic Arts, the largest video game publisher in the industry, announced that it was canceling a highly anticipated Star Wars game and shutting down the developer that had been making it, Visceral Games.  This caused waves with fans, including me, because the brief, early footage of the game had been tantalizing.  Everyone wanted to know what happened.  Why was such a sure thing called off?  Luckily, a couple weeks later, Jason Schreier, a journalist for Kotaku, published The Collapse Of Visceral’s Ambitious Star Wars Game.  Schreier spent time with the former employees of Visceral Games, and they described a game doomed from the beginning.  It was a fascinating article that gave a glimpse into the making of video games that I hadn’t really considered.  At the end of the article, I wanted more, and Schreier mentioned that he had written an entire book about the topic.  So, I went and immediately checked out Blood, Sweat, and Pixels.

Blood, Sweat, and Pixels details the development of nine popular video games and one game that was never released.  The commonality is that the games are made by people who are passionate about their jobs, but who have to sacrifice their health and personal lives to work hours upon hours of brutal overtime to finish products.  Also, that games are never really finished, just released.  Honestly, after reading this book, I’m surprised that video games get made at all, let alone that some of them are incredibly entertaining.  Scherier’s writing is straightforward–you can tell that he’s a journalist–and very readable.  The background that he gives on games that I have played, like Destiny, gave new texture to the experience, and it’s a testament to Scherier’s writing that I was engaged during chapters about games that I’ve never played, like Uncharted 4.   I now want to play several of the games featured in this book, but, alas, my time for playing games is limited.  Overall, the book is an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at an industry that doesn’t get serious attention paid to it.  I highly recommend it to gamers and to people interested in making games themselves.

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