“Hey, I’m grabbing a bagel on my way in. Want one?” I cheerily answered an unexpected call from a coworker on what seemed like an ordinary Tuesday morning.

“I just got laid off.”

He related this information without any greeting, without giving details, and without trying to hide how he was feeling.

At the time, we were both designers at Blizzard Entertainment, working on the recently released World of Warcraft. Blizzard was an amazing place to work; we knew it to be different, special even, an anomaly within an industry that was rife with studio closures and layoffs. …


In Part 2, we focused on the reasons why games are sometimes canceled, and why they might not ever ship. Today we’re going to review one of the most commonplace realities of the game industry; crunch time, and then for a change of pace, we’ll get further into the most uplifting of topics: losing your game industry job.

This article was written with game development students in mind; but anyone that wants to make video games as a career may find it useful.

Harsh Reality #5: Crunch time happens

There is one almost inevitable reality for those that work in the game industry: crunch time. It…


In Part 1, we went over about how likely it is that you’ll get to be the Creative Director (hint: you probably won’t) and how sometimes (or even a lot of times), you won’t get to work on your dream game. Today things are going to ratchet up a notch. Let’s talk about product success, how fleeting and unreachable that can sometimes be in games, and what happens when things don’t work out according to plan.

This article was written with game development students in mind; but anyone that wants to make video games as a career may find it…


The video game industry is truly an amazing place to work. It’s creative, fun and fulfilling, taking a seed of an idea and working with a team to turn it into a fully realized game that potentially millions of other people can enjoy. But like anything else in life, there are also some downsides to working in games; things you might want to consider if you’re looking to make it your career. So let’s get real — what are some of the worst parts of the industry?

This article was written with game development students in mind; but anyone that…


Author’s Note (April 2021): Hey y’all. Even though this article is years old at this point, it still gets a lot of views. Despite it’s age, much of it might still be valid and help you find the data you’re after. If you decide to read it, know that it was written in the world of 2015 and the methods I used then might not be the best ones now. If you spot something that is wrong or misleading, I’d love to hear about it. I’m leaving it up for now but if at a point in the future it…


I still have the Nostalrius WoW shortcut on my PC desktop. I just can’t bring myself to delete it, even though the server has been inactive for almost two weeks now. In April 2016, the dedicated team behind Nostalrius complied with a cease and desist order from Blizzard Entertainment to shut down their private WoW server that had amassed 150,000 active players. I was one of those players.

I can’t log in anymore. But for some reason, I still can’t delete that shortcut.

I played on the Nostalrius server for about six months. I found the server by chance in…


Last month I met up with a friend who had just finished his first week at a new job. We sampled some craft beers while he filled me in on the company, the product, and how he was feeling about his new role. He sounded very excited as he explained the ins and outs of how the business model worked.

However, he revealed that his first week hadn’t gone all that well — he was hired in at a lead level, but his team knew more about the brand and product than he did — so he was having a…


Without a doubt, the most common question I get about working in the game industry is: “How can I get a job in games?”

Truthfully, I’ve never found it an easy question to answer because it’s not an industry that has a defined, linear path to follow, and most of the people I’ve worked with have found their way into the industry in vastly different ways.

I have a degree in a completely unrelated field — graphic design — and I’ve worked with others that have had degrees in history, political science, illustration, and architecture, among others. …


If you’re a game designer, you’ve probably done your fair share of brainstorming. Level design ideas, content design ideas, or even full game concepts often find their beginnings in a brainstorming meeting. You get the design team in a room, give your team sugary drinks and don’t let them out until you’ve got a whiteboard full of kickass ideas, some of which eventually find their way into the game.

If I’m being honest, I can also say that at one point or another, I’ve sat through a brainstorming meeting that seemed pointless, didn’t yield anything usable, and/or strayed wildly off…


I finally got around to watching the film Indie Game: The Movie over this past weekend. The film focuses on the ups and downs of a few indie game developers as they work towards launching their games. Different personalities, different life circumstances, very different games, but the same end goal: creating a game and finding an audience.

Most of the film is punctuated by earnest, hopeful, oftentimes emotional displays of the developers as they work to complete their games; nothing surprising about that. …

Christine Brownell

Chief Creative Officer @ Christine Brownell Creative LLC; providing design & project management to game dev clients; www.christinebrownell.com

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