The Bergman Files: So You Want to Work in Games, Huh?

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But, really, there are lots of ways to break in. Head to Kongregate Labs and learn to make simple Flash games. Cost of Macromedia Flash too high for you? Check out the Torque or Unity engines. Or, get yourself an Android or iPhone dev account and try making some simple mobile games. Minecraft, the latest indie success story, was written in Java. You can teach yourself that without ever spending a penny, just by searching Google and reading forum posts.

Bottom line: if you want to make games, you can totally make games.

#4: Not every game is gonna be the next Halo.

I may have just finished up work on Fallout: New Vegas (woo!) and I’ve worked with some absolutely brilliant developers in the past, like Firaxis and Irrational, but let’s be honest – not every game is one of those. My first job on this side of the industry fence was in PR and the first thing I took out on tour was an Army Men game. Now you want to see hatred in a journalist’s eyes, just ask them to tell you about the last Army Men game they had to review. But wait, it gets better: the game I took out was picked up by my former employer after the demise of 3DO. Except, before 3DO went under, they sent out review copies, which resulted in a couple of reviews being run. So there I was, standing in front of these guys, some of whom had already reviewed the game, trying to convince them that this game was really awesome and they totally should write a preview. Yeah. It went over about as well as you’d think.

Just suck it up and do your best to make the most out of what you’ve got. That Army Men game may not have been great, but it wasn’t terrible, and damn it I was going to do my best to make sure they heard about it. A year later, I was doing the same thing with Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. That was a little easier.

#5: It’s totally worth it

No question, there’s no place I’d rather be than working in games. For one thing, I have no useful skills outside of this industry. (When the apocalypse comes, I’m screwed). But really, no matter how painful the process can be, there’s still nothing like shipping something you’re proud of. If you want to work in games, make it happen.

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