You Have No Choice

Posted February 5, 2012

No this isn’t an article about determinism. I recently did some digging through YouTube for advice on writing because I feel it’s a worthwhile skill for a game developer to have. A certain point made by Christopher Hitchens during an interview stuck with me and prompted me to apply it to game development. He basically said that if you have to write, that it never occurred to you that you can exist without it, then you’ll be fine because it’s what you’re meant to be doing. I would say the same about game development, or any pursuit in life.

Games are fun and ingrained as a pillar of life to kids who grew up playing them. They influence us as education, entertainment, and social identity. An entire area of conversation and language of references exist that revolve around gaming and it’s periphery. It’s not hard to see how people can feel that making games is where they belong, just from proximity. Passion is often the only trait people have when they try to get a job in games.

Then they get in and realize that it’s the programming they love, or writing, or managing people, or art. The hardships of making games drive these people out because those aren’t the challenges they’re meant to face. They conclude that games aren’t worth it and move on to a better fit for them. I’ve often seen it stated that the average length of a career in games is 5 -7 years.

That won’t be me. The reason that statement by Hitchens struck me is because this is the only thing I can see myself doing. Game development came first and programming is just how I fit in. Any time my friends tell me about working on business software, or any other field, I just don’t get it. I have no choice.