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Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games
(Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read)

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Published:
Atria Books 2017
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Available from OverDrive
Description
From the award-winning video game writer of such hits as Star Wars Battlefront and BioShock comes an exclusive "compelling look into a world that doesn't like to spill its secrets to outsiders" (NPR): the video game industry.When his satirical musings in a college newspaper got him discharged from the Air Force, it became clear to Walt Williams that his destiny in life was to be a writer—he just never thought he'd end up writing video games, including some of the biggest franchises today. A veteran video game narrative designer, Williams pulls back the curtain on an astonishingly profitable industry that has put its stamp on pop culture and yet is little known to those outside its walls. As Williams walks you through his unlikely and at times inglorious rise within one of the world's top gaming companies, he exposes an industry abundant in brain power and out-sized egos, but struggling to stay innovative. Significant Zero also provides clear-eyed criticism of the industry's addiction to violence and explains how the role of the narrative designer is crucial for expanding the scope of video games into more immersive and emotional experiences. Significant Zero is a rare and illuminating look inside "the video gaming industry in all its lucrative shine and questionable morality...[and] provides a refreshing and realistic portrayal of succeeding at attaining a dream via an unforeseen career trajectory" (Booklist).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/19/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781501129971
ASIN:
B01MDTK18Z
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Walt Williams. (2017). Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games. Atria Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Walt Williams. 2017. Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games. Atria Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Walt Williams, Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games. Atria Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Walt Williams. Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games. Atria Books, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:03:13
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:46:10
Last Metadata Check:
Apr 04, 2021 10:36:51
Last Metadata Change:
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Apr 04, 2021 10:36:54
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Jul 03, 2020 20:03:15
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
Apr 10, 2021 02:28:16

OverDrive Product Record

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      • bioText: Walt Williams is the award-winning video game writer known for his work on such beloved franchises as Star Wars Battlefront, Bioshock, Civilization, Borderlands, Mafia, The Darkness, and the acclaimed, genre-bending Spec Ops: The Line. His book, Significant Zero, explores the hardships and insanity of AAA game development. He lives in Louisiana with his family.
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shortDescription
From the award-winning videogame writer of such hits as BioShock and Borderlands comes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating culture of the gaming industry.
When his satirical musings in a college newspaper got him discharged from the Air Force, it became clear to Walt Williams that his destiny in life was to be a writer—he just never thought he'd end up writing video games.

A veteran videogame narrative designer, Williams pulls back the curtain on an astonishingly profitable industry that has put its stamp on pop culture and yet is little known to those outside its walls. As Williams walks you through his unlikely and at times inglorious rise within one of the world's top gaming companies, he exposes an industry abundant in brain power and out-sized egos, but struggling to stay innovative. Significant Zero also provides clear-eyed criticism of the industry's addiction to violence and explains how the role of the narrative designer is...
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title
Significant Zero
fullDescription
From the award-winning video game writer of such hits as Star Wars Battlefront and BioShock comes an exclusive "compelling look into a world that doesn't like to spill its secrets to outsiders" (NPR): the video game industry.
When his satirical musings in a college newspaper got him discharged from the Air Force, it became clear to Walt Williams that his destiny in life was to be a writer—he just never thought he'd end up writing video games, including some of the biggest franchises today.

A veteran video game narrative designer, Williams pulls back the curtain on an astonishingly profitable industry that has put its stamp on pop culture and yet is little known to those outside its walls. As Williams walks you through his unlikely and at times inglorious rise within one of the world's top gaming companies, he exposes an industry abundant in brain power and out-sized egos, but struggling to stay innovative. Significant Zero also provides clear-eyed criticism of the industry's addiction to violence and explains how the role of the narrative designer is crucial for expanding the scope of video games into more immersive and emotional experiences.

Significant Zero is a rare and illuminating look inside "the video gaming industry in all its lucrative shine and questionable morality...[and] provides a refreshing and realistic portrayal of succeeding at attaining a dream via an unforeseen career trajectory" (Booklist).
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      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2017
        Looking back on the decade he spent helping to create some of the most memorable titles in video gaming history, Williams comes clean on scripted violence, workplace politics, situational morality, and the deleterious effects of little sleep and a junk-food diet.In 2013, the outrageous "Grand Theft Auto V" earned $1 billion in just three days after its release. Such huge profits often demand teams of creators sacrifice their souls on the altar of the gaming gods. Louisiana-born Williams did just that as a brash 20-something short on cash but long on dreams of making it as a writer in New York City. After Marvel Comics shut the door in his face, he managed to cultivate a few old college ties into an interview with the burgeoning 2K Games. Both acerbic and witty, the author not only charmed his way into a professional gig playing video games; he also earned the respect of "The Fox," the legendary 2K honcho who would consistently elevate Williams inside the gaming industry's arcane hierarchy. The author was also able to survive the "Crunch," or single-minded, all-consuming focus needed to bring top-notch video games like "Spec Ops: The Line" to market. The work drove him to confront conflicting personalities and thorny morality questions head-on in a quest to deliver the kinds of immersive video games fans love to play. "Whatever it takes to make you feel something, we'll do it," writes Williams. "But that's not always enough. Sometimes, to get your blood pumping, we have to let you decide how far you're willing to go." In the case of "GTA V," that means "running over civilians with a car, shooting police officers, sleeping with prostitutes and then killing them to get their money back." But the author is completely fine with all of that and more, and in this bitingly acrid chronicle, he explains why. An entertaining and provocative look inside big-time video game development.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        July 1, 2017

        Video-game writer Williams earned his acclaimed reputation for games such as Bioshock, Borderlands 2, and Spec Ops: The Line. In this mostly memoir, part meditation on what video games can be, he begins and ends with the Fox, his boss at 2K Games and an important, benevolent figure in this tale. With energy and wit, the author recounts his stumbling first interview with the Fox, his upward climb from office grunt to trusted writer, and the various characters whom he encountered along the way. The physical and mental stressors of the job emerge organically in the telling, and without a trace of self-pity, even when it becomes clear that, for Williams, the work is like an addictive drug. His gift for profane turns of phrase and wacky metaphor combine hysterically throughout. There is a lack of self-awareness and a shortage of personal details, but that's the point. Williams merged with his role to an unhealthy degree, and shifting the focus would be dishonest. VERDICT A dark, humorous look into video game publishing, essential for anyone interested in the gaming industry and an entertaining read.--Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Univ. Lib., Malibu, CA

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        August 7, 2017
        “It’s natural to wish things weren’t this way, but it won’t change anything,” notes Williams, a former video game writer, in this insightful memoir. “You either agree to the cost or move on with your life.” He is referring specifically to the “crunch,” the wearying, health-threatening final months of a game’s development cycle, but his story of a decade spent in the gaming industry is full of that “it is what it is” ethos. Williams’s positions are defiantly his own, as idiosyncratic as his path into the profession (he was introduced to a Take-Two Interactive employee via connections in a secret society of antiauthoritarians). His book gives readers a useful behind-the-scenes look at how games are made and offers some advice for aspiring creators—often simultaneously practical and tongue-in-cheek. Its most striking observations, however, are on how modern video games differ from older kinds of games, in that the rules are “fluid” and not “rigid,” and on the gaming industry’s current failings, such as a reliance on protagonists who represent blatant wish-fulfillment fantasies. Williams concludes with a hopeful vision for the future of gaming, as long as his former peers are ready to put in the work to tell more daring and unique stories.

subtitle
Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games
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