10. Video Game Careers

Buy It Now On Amazon

I placed two new (and empty) video game cases on the counter. I don't remember which ones. My favorites of 2008 were Fallout 3 and Left 4 Dead, so let's just roll with those. An employee eagerly snatched them up and initiated a sales pitch. I promptly declined, and he turned to retrieve the games.

Waiting, I scanned GameStop's equivalent to a grocery store's chewing gum and candy bar rack. I saw stuffed toys, toxic treats, and…the gaudiest book ever.

“How much for this?”

“It's twenty bucks,” he says. “But if you buy another new game you get the book for free.” So I bought Gears of War 2.

I paid. He slid the book into a bag along with the other items. I looked at the cover through the thin plastic – a garish mixture of blocky text and the three primary colors.

“Have a good one,” he said. I nodded and left, ready to read.

Video Game Careers is a book about video game careers. Tons of them, in fact. Popular choices like design, art, and programming are included, but so are several you might not expect: retail, journalism, publishing, hosting (television and internet shows), and even professional gaming. Each section is comprehensive, containing advice on schooling and networking, as well as salary expectations. The pages are rife with relevant interviews of industry professionals like Dave Perry, John Romero, and Dan Hsu. They have a lot to say.

Only a precious few guidance counselors or career placement professionals know anything about this industry. If you know you want to work with video games but aren't sure where to begin, Video Game Careers is worth a read. Plus it's illustrated by the Penny Arcade guys, so that's neat.