Here’s How Developers Create the World’s Most Thrilling Video Games

A new book takes video game fans behind the scenes to see what went into creating some of the most popular adventure games of all time.

The Minds Behind Adventure Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers features in-depth interviews with creators of 31 games, including Grand Theft Auto, Strider, Double Dragon, Maximum Carnage, and Pitfall. The book was written by Patrick Hickey Jr., assistant director of the journalism program at Kingsborough Community College. It’s a follow up to his 2018 book, The Minds Behind the Games, which included interviews with developers of games like Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam.

“Video games are the largest form of pop culture in our entire world,” Hickey told SUM. “They gross more money than the movie industry, than literature, than all of those things. And there’s no adequate history-taking of this form of media. I’m compiling the first primary source about the creation process.”

Hickey gets the inside story of how developers come up with their ideas and what it takes to turn them into exciting, captivating games. He chronicles their failures and successes, the challenges they experience marketing their work, and the growth of the entire adventure game genre. 

Hickey said in an interview with COGConnected that he picked the games for this book because they “all made impacts on the industry and all have huge followings.” The one he enjoyed writing about the most, he said, was Grand Theft Auto 1: “It’s a miracle that the game was ever released. And then for it to become this monster of a series is a once in a lifetime anomaly.”

Hickey’s next book will look at classic sports games.