Friday, April 15, 2011

Hot Jobs in Video Games by Joe Funk

Hot Jobs in Video Games by Joe Funk
ISBN: 0545218500
Scholastic Reference, 2010
128 p.

Plot Summary: Funk's Hot Jobs in Video Games serves as a guide to young adult readers to the gaming industry and possible employment in it. Funk interviews a variety of designers, creators, and artists who have done work on games like Gears of War, Wolverine: Origins, Halo, and The Sims. Funk also speaks to Fatal1ty, a gamer whose skills in a game called Unreal Tournament won him almost $50,000 in one year.

Critical Analysis: Funk's book provides a fascinating look into the video game industry. A wide variety of individuals are interviewed. Cliff Blezenski, creator of Gears of War tells readers that he started very early creating video games, he sold his first game before he was out of high school.

This is part of the problem with the book, though. Working in the video game industry is a fantasy and Funk does little to debunk some of the myths or to specify what skills are needed. Game testing, for example, is known to be a grueling job that has been likened to opening the same door in a game one thousand times to check for bugs. All of the individuals interviewed in Funk's book are successful people who have moved up through the ranks to the fun and creative jobs. Funk does little to explain the entry-level jobs that nearly everyone would have to do to get in on the ground floor.

Similarly, Funk neglects to explain some of the preparation and skill needed for some of these jobs. Each piece has a "job skills needed" section, but they are just adjectives. Specific schooling and computer skills would have made this a more valuable resource to young adults interested in working with video games.

Reader's Annotation: Want to work in the video game industry? Find out how to get paid for your favorite hobby!

Author Information: Funk also wrote a book on iPhone apps book, implying his technological prowess.


Genre: non-fiction, careers

Curriculum Ties: This book could be used during job placement tests in schools, with the caveat that these jobs are very diffficult to attain.

Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages 12 and up

Challenge Issues: N/A

Challenge Defense Ideas: No challenge issues come to mind when reading this book. The best defense is having a strong knowledge of the book, so becoming familiar with it by reading reviews, finding other opinions, and reading it one's self is a good start. One could also refer to the library's collection development policy here.

Why I included this title: There are a lot of teens at my gaming program in the library who are interested in coding, modding, and video game production. I'm sure there are many other teens with similar interests. Although this book does not get into the specifics quite enough, it is a good starting point for anyone who's interested in a video game career.

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