As one of the most popular streamers and video game personalities in the world, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is well-qualified to write a book about the gaming entertainment industry. If fans and aspiring gamers are expecting his first book, Ninja: Get Good, to be a “get popular and rich quick” guide, they’ll be disappointed. Instead, readers should be pleasantly surprised to find an honest, intelligent book in which Ninja reinforces the mindful, fun side of gaming.
Ninja has 45 million followers across multiple platforms and recently signed a massive exclusivity deal with Microsoft’s streaming service, Mixer. Millions of young fans and aspiring esports professionals look up to him for advice. Ninja: Get Good gives that advice with practical applications for readers to follow. His recommendations go beyond the “just hustle harder” mantra other online personalities sometimes broadcast to the world.
Ninja: Get Good is divided into six sections that tackle key parts of being a successful gamer, streamer, or esports professional. Since Ninja touts this as his “ultimate guide to gaming,” some portions of the book are predictable (if still useful). For example, the first chapter, “Gear Up,” goes into the process of building a quality gaming setup. While this is an obvious topic for a gamer to tackle, Ninja stays practical: He acknowledges his own setup will be outdated in months and keeps his advice to perennial topics, like the importance of a decent headset.
This commitment to practical advice runs throughout the book. The “Power Up” section is full of suggestions for building mechanical skills across all games, not just Fortnite or any other title that’s made Ninja famous. This section also includes charts for readers to fill out to identify where their gaming needs more work.
In the book’s fifth chapter, “Blow Up,” Ninja goes into the intricacies of developing an entertaining stream. The dozens of Twitch mentions are awkward, given Ninja’s current issues with the company after his move to Mixer. Twitch has shown inappropriate content on his former channel and questions have been raised about what rights streaming services have over entertainers. Awkwardness aside, Ninja still gives useful information for fans who are looking to build an audience.
Ninja’s book is, as he says in the introduction, “an encyclopedia…for gamers like us.” It’s full of information. But the true value of the book doesn’t come from the data charts or links to optimal computer builds. The value comes from how much Ninja emphasizes fun, responsibility, and being mindful of gaming and practice. As someone with millions of young followers, this take on professional gaming is necessary and refreshing.
After he lays out mechanical skill practice ideas, Ninja encourages readers to write out goals to make that practice more mindful. In one chapter, he asks aspiring professional gamers to identify the internal reason why they want to be good at a game, beyond riches or fame. The entire final chapter of the book, “Grow Up,” is dedicated to setting smart goals for gaming while avoiding burnout and living a productive life.
“To get a good teammate, be a good teammate,” Ninja explains in the “Team Up” chapter. That advice might sound obvious to many people. But Ninja takes the time to explicitly lay out what makes a person a valuable part of a team, like the ability to diffuse tension or be a leader within a game. For young gamers who may be experiencing toxicity in cooperative games or are being pressured to fit in with slurs and anger, this is absolutely critical advice they need to hear from a professional they respect. For anyone who may not realize their toxicity in gaming, hearing concrete ways to change may set them on the right path.
Parents of those young gamers should also take a look at the book since Ninja dispels many myths that society has about gaming. He takes the misconceptions that gaming leads to social isolation or a drop in school success and turns them around by linking key skills in gaming to those areas. For example, he details how cooperation and teamwork within a game can build social skills, not dissolve them.
Ninja’s book will, by no means, instantly make you a rich, famous, skilled gamer. But it will give fans, aspiring professionals, and anyone who wants to take their game to the next level a push in the right direction.
Publishing along with the book is the Ninja Notebook, which comes with cool stickers and gaming tips. Ninja: Get Good will be available in stores and online today, Aug. 20.