Reflection on Making Video Games and Child Rearing

I finished reading “Blood, Sweat, and Pixels” this morning. Great read, and an excellent window into the video game industry and the toll it exacts from those working in it.

When I got laid off from EA back in 2004 (they were moving the Origin team from Austin to California), I took a job at Texas State University next. There were a few reasons for choosing that role, but one was that I wanted to be more present for the raising of my young kids than my previous commute and the studio’s occasional crunch time allowed. Seeing how endemic the practices of crunch and overtime are in the industry, I’m even more glad now that I made that decision. (Plus, a few of my most treasured friendships grew from that time at the University.)

In a bit of interesting synchronicity, as I’m reflecting on this, my youngest is moving out to her own place, leaving me with an empty nest for the first time in 27 years. My kids have all turned out to be wonderful adults, and I’m so grateful to have been able to make the most of those fleeting years when they were growing up under the same roof with me.

I still occasionally dream about being a part of building another terrific game; but given how much that industry asks of its people, I’m unwilling to pay that relational price. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity with Ultima Online, but that window seems to have closed, and I’m fine with that. Most days.