The quick answer is that I, personally, think crafting engaging and fun content and game mechanics for players to enjoy is extremely validating and fulfilling. I really like making stuff that makes people happy and entertained. I feel extremely validated knowing that players are having fun discovering all the little things I put into the game content for them to discover. I love the challenge of taking an idea and making it real. I enjoy doing it much more than I enjoyed doing other stuff – I’ve tried working in other adjacent fields like training software or casino games. I don’t personally feel as much job satisfaction doing those things as I do making games. I’m super privileged and fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I enjoy.
As for the negatives… Like most other forms of news, gaming news tends to favor the sensational and the awful because that’s what gets the most eyeballs. Such reporting tends to warp perception of what something is because people assume that the worst is universal across the entire industry since that’s all they hear about, rather than a normal distribution where there are a lot of different aspects of working in the industry. There are good and bad actors/studios/companies with different rankings in each of these elements. Yes, some studios have executives that underestimate and overpromise. Some studios have endemic crunch practices and labor exploitation. Some studios have uncertain financials. But that doesn’t mean that every studio has all of these things all of the time. The values vary from studio to studio, leader to leader, and year to year because everything changes over time.
I’ve worked at a lot of different studios over the course of my career. Each of them had their good points and their bad. Some had more good points than bad, others had more bad than good… but the industry is not as universally awful as the news might lead you to believe. Part of working in the industry is being judicious about who I choose to work for – I won’t stay long at a company that does not align with the things I care about (work-life balance, sufficient compensation, creative freedom, good leadership, etc.). I identify the bad actors and I choose to avoid them. If, for some reason, I work for an employer who I determine to be a bad actor, I will leave and find a new one. Obviously not everyone has this privilege and I think that it is absolutely important to shine a light on the bad actors within the industry while still recognizing that the industry is not universally populated by bad actors. There are decent and good employers to be found out there. I know this for certain because I’ve worked for some of them.
P.S. I understand that not everyone has the ability to be choosy with their employers, especially now. I have been in that situation as well. Sometimes it is necessary to put up with a bad situation while looking for a better opportunity elsewhere. I sympathize with anyone in such a situation and have written extensively about the job-hunting process. My inbox and Discord server are open to anyone who would like personalized assistance in finding a job.
The FANTa Project is being rebooted. [What is the FANTa project?]
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