"The pay isn't much, but at least the hours are lousy."
Quoting myself on what it's like to work in the game industry.
The work, wit, and wisdom of Alan Emrich. If his name is somewhere in the credits, or the subject interests him, chances are you'll find more information about it here.
This Home Page was last updated: January, 2008
Welcome to Alan Emrich Central. Here is where I've tried to organize some of the things that I've written and worked on since I did my first game industry work back in the early 1970s and my first game articles were published back in 1977. Below, you see me (sans beard and mustache) teaching a class about the game business. Here I am "The Old Man" (a.k.a., the "sage on the stage") for the next generation of game makers. To the right is the reason I do it all: my students from The Art Institute of California: Orange County.
I will always try to go the extra mile to make sure that my students enter the game industry armed with all the knowledge that I can instill in them. I will not send them into the trenches of game development unprepared, and they seem to appreciate it. Heck, I even started a small game publishing company / classroom, Victory Point Games, for my students to get some hands-on experience with all aspects of game production. Together, we publisher interesting little games with a lot of passion while learning all about the game business together.
My Courses on This Web Site
You can navigate this site through the buttons at the top of the page, but allow me to elaborate what the main sections contain.
The first buttons takes you on a walk through my classes, beginning wit the lower-division courses: Survey of the Game Industry and Principles of Game Design. I've taught Game Design at the University of California at Irvine, Stanford University, and currently teach at The Art Institute of California (Orange County chapter). This class isn't particularly techno or trendy; it looks at the immutable strategies that broadly apply in designing any type of game. There's a ton of supporting material here ― everything but the course lessons themselves, in fact. Then there are the upper-division courses, including Game Prototyping, Advanced Game Prototyping, and my Game Project Management course (which I have also taught at Warner Brothers Interactive). The former classes about about rapidly putting board and computer game ideas into working prototypes that can be played right away and modified very quickly. The latter course, I have dubbed "Game Producer 101." Game Project Management is the class that covers budgets, schedules, documentation details, marketing, and many tricks and traps of the trade.
Finally, I share the common Class Resources for my courses. You'll enjoy these class resources, whether you're a student of mine or just a student of life. They include a Bibliography for all my courses, Glossaries for Game Design and Project Management, Practical Yiddish (it's hard to survive in any aspect of the entertainment business without it), Editorial Latin, Inspiring Quotations for surviving in the game business, and much more.
The "Charlie" Awards
The next section is an archive for the Charles S. Roberts Awards. I've been involved with several gaming awards committees over the years and presented dozens of them in my lifetime, but "The Charlies" are the oldest and most prestigious in the simulation gaming community. Dating back to 1974, The Charlies have been recognizing excellence in conflict simulation games ("wargames") for over a quarter of a century and I remain very proudly associated with these awards.
My Game Archive
A Games Archive is also included on this web site. These are primarily articles and accessories for specific games that I have worked on over the years, but there is also material about games that I've simply enjoyed and wanted to either write about or tinker with.
My current magnum opus is working on the game designs for Totaler Krieg! (2nd edition) and its sister game Dai Senso. The former is about World War 2 in Europe while the latter game covers World War 2 in the Pacific theater. These are strategic-level simulations (i.e., the units are armies, fleets, and air forces with each turn representing one to two months of time) that can be combined into a grand campaign game. They are based upon the original Steve Kosakowski Krieg! game design published by Decision Games (which I developed). I'm co-designing and developing TK2 and DS with Thomas Prowell and Salvatore Vasta, both very clever gamesmiths, and a host of experienced TK players who are volunteering their playtesting efforts to help us improve the final product before it is released. It is one of my all-time favorite games to play and I hope that you'll enjoy this game, the fruit of so much hard work, too. Other games covered in my archive include: A House Divided, Modern Naval Battles card game, and Cosmic Encounter (among others).
My Writing Archive
I began my career in gaming as a writer / analyst and, not surprisingly, I've archived a few choice bits about gaming in general on this web site in the Writing Archive. Among the most read items here is my article on The Decline of "Official" Computer Game Strategy Guides and my version of The Top 10 Reasons to Become a Game Designer. If you want to look inside the author, read I am a Teacher, and Why I Make Games. If you need a good laugh, peruse my Moral Justification piece.
Vanity, Thy Name is The Internet
Finally, what person's web site would be complete without some information in the About Me section? Well, here's what I've done with my life, both from my perspective (autobiographical) as well as numerous comments from others, both fellow gamers, coworkers, and myriad students.
Those are the main sections you'll find here. If you want to send me an email, you can click here.
Enjoy! - Alan Emrich