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Designing Video Games is Hard Work, But the Millions of Angry Players Make It All Worthwhile


computer programmer, death threats, developer, programming

I’ve sacrificed a lot to become a game designer at a major studio. I have spent long nights staring at computer screens, missed out on relationships, and struggled to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans. I face impossible deadlines at every turn and I rarely get enough sleep.

However, there’s one thing that keeps me going: the hordes of anonymous strangers who hate me.

I am already so grateful that these fans spend their hard-earned money on our games, and voluntarily play them for hours every day. But when they also put in the effort to threaten me with violence because they don’t like the new cosmetic skins? Why, it reminds me why I do this work in the first place.

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When I get home each night, often well past dinner time, (which would matter more if I had a family), I like to unwind by reading my mentions on Twitter. A recent favorite came in a tweet from a gentleman who has spent several hundred hours playing our latest game.

He asked me engaging questions like “Why do you get off on fucking me over?” and “Why don’t you kill yourself?” He even personally invited me to his home, where I was told I could “chortle on a hairy dick,” but alas, I am too busy with work to do any kind of socializing.

All of these daily interactions pale in comparison to E3, though. Meeting the fans in person is always a highlight of my year. At the demo booth they bring me personalized gifts, like lists of complaints about the XP system scribbled on damp pieces of paper. Other fans are too nervous to approach me directly, but they are kind enough to hurl threats from the safety of the crowd.

I love getting to meet all of the people who claim to love my work in person.

I remember as a child, I wanted nothing more than to be part of the video game industry. I am literally living out the dreams of my youth, and I’d like to thank the millions of outspoken strangers that will never let me, or my parents who get constant death threats on their home phones, forget that.

Article by Andy Holt @iamandyholt

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