Book Review: It's Not All Fun & Games by Mark Flitman

by Julia DeKorte | 21 Apr 2024

Book Reviews

It’s Not All Fun & Games: A Life in Film Production, Video Games, and Toys by Mark Flitman is an incredibly well-written memoir detailing the trajectory of Flitman’s career. Flitman tells the story of his life with such joy, sharing the highs and lows of working in the toy and game industry and passing along all the life lessons he learned throughout his journey.


The book is divided up into 46 chapters, each a quick read that covers a different company he worked for, project he worked on, or adventure he embarked on. Working chronologically, in the first few chapters Flitman shares his earliest memories of spending his quarters on pinball machines at the bowling alley, perhaps one of the most innocent yet formative choices he’s ever made. Through high school, when he nursed an interest in performing, to college, where he studied film, and developed a deep appreciation for storytelling, Flitman gives context to how he found himself in such niche corners of the industry.


The rest of the book takes shape around the different companies he worked at and projects he worked on: Dirty Harry at Mindscape, NBA Jam and Maximum Carnage at Acclaim, back at Mindscape with Steel Harbinger, Dragon Ball at Atari, My Little Pony at Hasbro, and many, many, many more titles. He talks about spearheading an audio department at Hasbro, about his stint as a teacher, about his passion for expressing his creativity through screenwriting.


All throughout the book, alongside hundreds of original color photos and never-before-seen looks at the development behind so many of the world’s favorite games, Flitman incorporates the lessons he’d learned from each experience. “Top 5 Lessons Learned At Mindscape,” he penned, and “Top 3 Tips For Producers When Dealing With Licensors,” among others.


Flitman seamlessly adds in entertaining anecdotes about meeting big names, about traveling all over the world and experiencing different cultures. It’s impossible to read this book without feeling like you’ve gained a friend. You’re introduced to his family, his beloved furry companions, the neighborhoods he lived in. He weaves in his professional opinion, explaining his perspective on the industry with such mastery that his memoir could also be seen as a how-to guide on finding success as a video game producer.


It's Not All Fun & Games is a delightful read for anyone looking to get another perspective on what it’s like to experience the toy and game industry. Flitman’s easygoing storytelling is captivating, and he breaks up the book into bite-sized chapters that make it easy to read just a chapter or two at a time. I’d highly recommend this book to anyone curious or passionate about the toy industry: it’s fun, fast-paced, and truly an entertaining and educational read.

mindscape atari acclaim midway

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