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Break Into The Game Industry: How to Get A Job Making Video Games Paperback – May 19, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Consumer
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media; 1 edition (May 19, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072226609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072226607
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Ernest Adams has been around the gaming block many times; his industry insights coupled with the developer war stories should give any aspirant that extra edge to break into the game industry." --Jason Della Rocca, Program Director, International Game Developers Association

Practical Advice for Landing the Job You Want!

Join the fun! Learn how to become part of the excitement and creativity of game development--one of the hottest and most profitable industries today. Author, game designer, and producer Ernest Adams takes you inside the game industry, then delivers an action plan for you to break in--even without any game industry experience. Get great career advice and learn the different jobs that are available. Whether you're a curious gamer, a student, or a career changer seeking immediate help, this handy guide provides the information and insider advice you need to land a job in the game industry.

  • Learn how a game is built and published
  • Understand and acquire the skills you need to get into the industry
  • Discover the inner workings of the game business
  • Get your foot in the door as a game tester or with other entry-level jobs
  • Exercise your creativity as a game designer, artist, producer, or programmer
  • Get the right education for the job you want
  • Gain insightful advice from more than 20 industry professionals
  • Includes hundreds of useful resources for job seekers

About the Author

Ernest Adams’ experience includes over 12 years in the game industry as a lead designer, producer, and software engineer. More than 8 of those years were spent working on the very successful Electronic Arts (EA) Madden franchise. In addition to being a founder of the International Game Developer’s Association, a former Director of the Game Developer’s Conference, Adams writes a well-respected game design column for the popular game industry portal, As a high-profile member of the game industry, Adams speaks regularly at the Game Developer’s Conference and has been profiled in many publications including The New York Times.

More About the Author

Dr. Ernest Adams is a freelance game designer, writer, and teacher. He has served in the game industry since 1989, and is the author of five books, including the university-level textbook "Fundamentals of Game Design, Second Edition." Dr. Adams was most recently employed as a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions on the Dungeon Keeper series, and for several years before that was the audio/video producer on the Madden NFL Football line for Electronic Arts. He is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers' Association and a popular speaker at conferences and arts festivals around the world. His website is at

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most books without a plot (that are just meant for information) are boring and hard to read.
This book is a perfect edition for anyone who wants to know how a game industry works, inside and out.
C. Dewitt
I found this book to be well organized, well written, informative, and genuinely interesting.
Dave Grundgeiger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dave Grundgeiger on June 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a detailed and highly readable roadmap to careers in the game software industry. Assuming only that you have an acute interest in becoming part of the game software phenomenon, Adams shows you step-by-step how to break into this field as a programmer, artist, animator, audio technician, musician, writer, designer, tester, marketer, customer service rep, or even mailroom clerk.
The book begins with a wealth of fundamental knowledge, giving a history of interactive entertainment and a taxonomy of game software venues, including PC, home console, arcade, online, handheld device, "location-based" entertainment, and gambling equipment. Chapters explaining how the game industry functions and how games are produced--from idea through manufacturing--round out the very thorough treatment of fundamentals.
With the fundamentals under your belt, Adams explains how to get from here to there, wherever "here" is for you, and with "there" being a career in the game software industry. There is separate advice for those still in high school, those in college, and those currently in careers other than game software. Every major job in the game software industry is explained, and there are "day-in-the-life" sidebars for each, written by people actually holding those jobs. There is also specific, detailed information on what education you will need (which could be formal or self-taught) in order to do each of these jobs.
Lastly, Adams leads you through the job hunt and hiring process itself, explaining how to package yourself, how to find opportunities, how to interview, and--once you're hired--what legal issues pertain to the ideas that you create for your employer.
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Format: Paperback
My quick review of Break Into the Game Industry - How to get a job making video games by Ernest Adams.

This book is a very light read and aimed specifically at real neophytes who enjoy games and are giving a passing thought at doing something in games for a living without much knowledge of the industry. If you've grown up with the industry and are doing the indie or trying to break in thing, this isn't for you. Book can be pretty much read in one night, and for a lot of people there's a lot you can skim.

However, I would recommend this book VERY STRONGLY as a purchase for high school or even primary school children researching this as a possible career path. It pretty much covers a lot of things you need to get started *early*. Don't wait till you hit "working age" to start like I did. It's the only book out there that really targets kids and not working professionals trying to get in. It spends an entire chapter (and more) on how you should plan your education, what to look for, courses that will help etc. This stuff is good stuff, not the usual BS from "How to choose a college" guides.

There is also a very good summary of publishing contracts in there, that might be unfamiliar territory for a lot of people. Even though it wasn't new to me, I'm still photocopying it for something I can refer to if anything as a very good summary reference (I borrowed the book ).

Some of the best stuff is at the end in the appendices. There are huge lists of game companies and schools for anybody that is looking to apply at either. Book mentions that they are available at gamasutra as well but it doesn't hurt to have a hard copy.
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37 of 48 people found the following review helpful By e. white on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an experienced computer professional, who decided to change professions, which also makes me a recent graduate of a 3D animation school(i graduated at the top of my class). I purchased this book based on's(supposedly one of the best game recruiters) recomendation AND based on the other reviews listed for this book. I really thought this book would be informative. I was WRONG. This book was a huge WASTE of money. And I am not sure that the other reviews listed for this book are even from REAL buyers... I definately do not share their opinion.
This book was basically a waste of money, because it only gives you general information that most people already know. For example on page 189 the section "How to find a Job" starts. The first paragraph is a "its not what you know, its WHO you know." section. How is that supposed to help recent graduates or professionals changing professions?
In short, this book is NOT for professionals or graduates. It might be useful to high school students, who need might need to learn how to focus their career goals towards an game career... but even then i am not sure how it would help when they get to the position of actually trying to get the job.
TOTALLY DISSATISFIED, and WISH I could get my money back! This was a highway robbery at its best.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jarrod Loidl on October 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
There a lot of books on breaking into the game industry so why would you buy this one? Hell, the overall gist is the same where ever you look - online, books, here, etc. 1) Build a folio, 2) Take any entry level job you can in the industry and be prepared to work your way up 3) if you can, try to meet people in the industry already.
If you want more indepth information than that however, this book is for you.
1) Everything is clearly broken down into sections very cleanly. Nice index and appendix makes it easy to reference.
2) Covers every possible angle - whether you're young, a college graduate or already working in another industry and deals with your strengths and weaknesses
3) Well written and substantiated by interviews with industry professionals (from game designers to game industry job recruiters)
No words are wasted in this. Every word holds some meaning. I was suprised at the breakdown on minority groups, different ethnic groups and gender issues in the gaming industry. I felt this chapter alone (whilst not necessarily relevant to me) increased it's target audience substantially by tackling a lot of issues that not a lot of authors have considered.
A lot of other books out there are a collection of interviews with various game developer professionals and often their answers are disjointed and do not answer the question directly, if at all. This does not make these books any "less" valuable, only a little bit harder to find the information you might be looking for.
If you want a nice, clean, crisp and concise book on breaking into the game industry, this is the book for you. My only gripe about this book was that I felt it was rather short (largely personal perception, I understand that). That said, it did cover everything you could possibly think of (short of building your own game company, but that's a topic for another book I think) so do bear that in mind, hence my rating.
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