This is not a typical book found on a writer’s bookshelf. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be a typical one found on my bookshelf as I don’t play video games. Just never really got into them. But, I do think of myself as a student of writing so learning how to write for video games is something I was willing to learn.
Evan Skolnick focuses on a lot of different aspects of writing for video games. I especially found it interesting how the story of the game and the mechanics need to work together to make an amazing experience. Another interesting part of this is how this can be challenging because often the story is secondary if not the last thing considered when creating a video game. Apparently, video game creators’ first consideration are the puzzles and mechanics of a game before the story. In fact, some writers can be brought in so late to the video game creation process that it is difficult to mesh the mechanics and a story. Skolnick does go on to discuss when the best time for the writer to come on board so the story and mechanic can work together. The book also shares some good and bad ideas on how to present the story in a video game as well as the challenges of writing. One last thing the writer does say is that if you want to be a video game writer is that you need to play video games. This makes sense (but makes it difficult for me to ever write a game as I don’t play them) because playing, like reading in the genre you wish to write in, will help you learn the good, the bad, and how to write for a game because of how much you experience through them.
So, even if you don’t regularly write for a particular area or style of writing, you can always learn something from what they have to offer. Even for video games though you don’t play them. If you are considering writing for video games, or just looking for a well written book on writing, this one is interesting and gives insight into the industry and various view points of a creation team working to produce a story and interactive game.