Here’s a thing. I’m not particularly passionate about games. I’m not a ninja or a rockstar or even a unicorn. I don’t live for games. I’m never going to be a superstar.
I’m a solid, dependable (I hope) designer with a high level of competency in my chosen field. I also have a very good industry knowledge and I have a lot of experience making games.
However, I will never be and don’t want to be a rockstar, a ninja, a superstar or whatever else I might be required to be to be a part of the gaming industry “for real”.
If it hasn’t become obvious by now, I believe that these types of words and recruitment ads are a form of gatekeeping. It is not surprising based on the fact that the industry and technology industries in general are male dominated, and filled with a very specific type of machismo, where everyone has to be a ninja, a cowboy or a pirate. And most importantly PASSIONATE ABOUT GAMES.
Well. You get my drift.
Even if these descriptions have been reduced in the industry they’re not gone, and they go hand in hand with that weird pride of having to work overtime and crunch – and be proud of it.
I’ve had creative directors who used to brag about how many vacation days they had saved and how little vacation they took. I’ve had colleagues who have been saying how little time they spend at home with their partners and kids and sound as if that’s secretly something to feel proud about. The superstar, rockstar, ninja attitude is honestly poisoning the entire industry and it is not something to be proud about.
To put everything second to your job is actually unhealthy, especially since your workplace won’t thank you for it. Once you burn out, it is almost too late or might even be too late but your work isn’t going to thank you for that service. They’ll find someone else to take your place, lured in by the same toxic romantic view of what it means to work in the games industry.
Trust me when I say it is not worth it.