Happy Labor Day! – New Game!! Review/Life In Software Development

Happy Labor Day! For those of us in the US, today is a holiday that most students/workers and I figured as both I should talk about this dynamic as found in anime, specifically New Game! The show follows Aoba Suzumiya Suzukaze and her adventures going straight from high school into a game design company as an animator, her first time working, and finding herself as main character designer in the second season. My personal career was a hodgepodge of working in hospitals and clinics then a few years ago jumping into private sector work in software development. I could agree and identify with most of the things Aoba ran into in the first season and most of the occurrences in the second season.

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First season, we have some very typical scenarios you see in your first job that Aoba deals with. First is the “oh no I’m late” stress where Aoba sleeps in and barrely makes it to work on time, only to fall flat on the ground outside the office and be late by a few minutes. Another assesses how to handle her first pay check, while her co-workers buy cosplay outfits, action figures, or just really good food she decides to be responsible and save money, something I sure as hell didn’t do. Other things that happen with software development are staying after work late to work on a project or even to stay overnight working on meeting a deadline. They even comically address how full time salaried positions are a bit of a scam to get you to work more than 40 hours a week for no additional pay. In fact, part of my job is trying to convince developers and QA to work late for nothing more than a few smoothies and some Thai food. Also alcohol afterwards is pretty great for motivating employees.

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Some of the things that we see about Aoba is coming to terms with the fact that while she’s a great artist and skipped college to get hired out of high school, there’s still individuals more talented than her, specifically her idol, Ko Yagami. Ko was the character designer for Aoba’s favorite game, Faries, and is the character team lead in the beginning of the show, later becoming the AD or art director. Her friend and senpai, Hifumi, later becomes character team lead as Aoba finds herself character designer for a brand new IP and game, Peco. It’s definitely a crazy jump to suddenly be trusted with a project, having to maintain customer/stakeholder relations while still getting your team to work and finish up projects on time, in scope, and under budget.

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Onto talking not just about me, but most of BAYOG actually works in software development and/or technology. I’m not going to go into talking on their behalf but I know New Game! has been well received by us as reminding us that at one point, we all got into this/went to school for working in video game design. In fact the only thing I have to point out I dislike about the premise of the show is that they don’t appear to have any sort of Software Development Life Cycle or SLDC methodology. While this is boring and normally I wouldn’t sweat it, this anime has managed to touch on and include so many realistic aspects of the show I can’t help but feel this is such an important aspect for them to have omitted from the show. Otherwise this has made me really redouble my efforts in grad school, which is another component of this show. In the second season, we have Aoba’s childhood friend Nene create a game and start as a part time programmer at EagleJump while still a student. Addressing trying to work while going to college and its difficulty is something else I can identify with as well. While I don’t recommend it simultaneously, finishing college while working towards you dream job can fill you with far more self respect and pride than I can explain.

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Beyond that, the show has a great art style and animation has never left me feeling like it was poorly done nor like it was just annoying. The voice work is very good, but they kind of make Nene and Aoba sound a bit too young for my preference, but given the explicit reference to how people think the two of them are still middle school kids. The comedic pacing is very good and meshes well with the scenario of the game development setting. Finally on my description of the aesthetics are the OP and ED which for both seasons leave me realizing and acknowledging I’m going to be watching a very happy-go-lucky show. So what do you think of this show? Have any desire to work in video game design/software development? Ever make a game yourself? Leave a like/comment, and let me know!

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