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Down the Pipe:
Want to Play Games for a Living?

By Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon
Vol. 2, Issue 5 
December 10, 1999 

You could stand around the water cooler and discuss your favorite technique in Age of Empires, and the boss would pass by and nod. Heck, you’re hard at work. Fire up WarCraft III on your computer and check out the lovely cinematics. Yep, gotta keep up on what the competitor is doing. Better play a campaign or two just to be sure. Shout at the top of your lungs: “That fucker fragged me!” and no one will care (well maybe they might, but nearly as much as the stinkhole environment most of us work in).

But we’re not like that, are we. We sit in our little cubicles, wearing our pressed shirts and choking ties, and wondering why the heck the company can’t splurge and get us real machines to work on. We fire up our web browsers and check out Blue’s News when we think no one is looking. Check out the heated debate on sCary’s msgboard if we have just a little bit more time before work needs to be done. What’s the State of the Wood? If we’re really daring, or perhaps sit in a corner, we might even try to catch some screenshots from Diablo II. Hot damn I can’t wait for that one. Maybe you’re even as nifty as me and have a telnet IRC client running and while you chat with friends. At lunch time it might actually be okay to “run the ´net” so we do the same but more openly. Me, I write stuff for upcoming issues of loonygames.

I’ve often heard that you shouldn’t make a living out of something you really love; that too much of a good thing sours you to it. Well, damnit, let me give it a try and I’ll let you know. In my opinion, if you sour to something you really love doing, then you didn’t really love it in the first place. Or perhaps you didn’t really understand in the first place the capacity of what you wanted to do. But that’s my opinion. Feel free to debate me on it.

I’m not sure what kind of life a professional gamer leads. I mean, to get good at a game, and I mean really, really good -- so good in fact that you can beat everyone you come across, and you start going out of your way to find people who might be able to beat you -- what kind of life do you have? Do you play for 16 hours a day? More? And do you focus your energy on just one game? Well, I can’t think of any one game that I’d want to play that much. That’s just crazy. I like lots of different games, but they have a definite lifespan with me. They come, I play, they go. Now and then I’ll pick up an old game that I haven’t played recently, but that’s it. I tend to remember very quickly why I got bored of it in the first place.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to a game tester. Actually I’ve got somewhat of a QA background in software development, I’m pretty sure I know exactly what goes on in testing games. I think you’d get pretty damned tired of doing it unless you really liked the game. And I’m picky, I’d only want to test games I like. And who wouldn’t? I feel sorry for the poor souls that game tested Trespasser.

So what’s your dream job in the game industry? I’d actually like to hear from people on this. And tell me why you think it’s a dream job. In fact, if I get enough feedback, I’ll go off and approach the type of people that hold your “dream position” in the industry and get the beef on what it’s really like, and compare it to what people thought it would be like. How cool is that? You can mail me here: [email protected].

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon currently holds the world record for using the word "exhumed" 15 times in a single sentence.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Down the Pipe is © 1999 Russell Lauzon. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it. Please? Pretty please? Okay, fine...be that way. But don't ask me for your allowance, young man.