Hot Jobs with Cool Companies

By Sam Jacobs

Copyright 2011 Neil S. Plakcy

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.

Introduction: Breakout and Breaking In

Want to play computer games for a living? I did that for nearly ten years, working for a developer and publisher of games for every computer platform and game console you can name. And you can, too. The video game industry continues to grow, with millions of consoles and games sold. In this book I’ll tell you about my background, a bit of history of the industry, the kinds of jobs available, and how you can get them.

In 1979, I was a college senior in Philadelphia, spending most of my evenings and all of my spare quarters at University City Pinball, a storefront arcade just off campus. It was a long, narrow room, lit by overhead fluorescents and the flashing multi-colored lights of the machines, with the sounds of bells, bumpers and paddles bouncing off the plain sheetrock walls.

I wasn’t tempted by those bright lights, by Dolly Parton and King Kong and the Playgirl bunnies. Instead I headed to the back of the room, to a computerized game called Breakout, a kind of one-man ping pong where I batted a small ball up toward a wall of bricks. Each time the ball hit a brick, the brick disappeared and the ball ricocheted back toward my paddle. There was a narrow space above the wall of bricks, and if you could break through to that space, your ball would bounce back and forth between the top of the screen and the wall, building up points rapidly. That was the breakout.

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