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Media careers

Video Games

Why get into video games?

On the surface, this is pretty much every kid’s dream job, right? Like a modern take on Tom Hanks in the film Big. What more could a big kid actually want?

In all honesty though, there’s more to the world of video games careers than sitting around playing computer games in a pair of tracky bottoms, Diet Fanta in one hand, video game controller in the other, trying to come up with new and exciting ways of innovating the new Pro Evolution Soccer.

Hours and hours of excruciatingly detailed work goes into every frame of most computer games. So whether it’s the new Call of Duty or the classic brilliance of Mario Kart that gets your juices flowing, we’ll give you an insight into what goes on behind a video game’s polished surface.

Video games these days aren’t just for kids. It’s a multi-billion pound industry, with the top games being played by people between the ages of six and 60. Okay, so there aren’t a lot of 60-year-olds who’d settle down for an evening of pizza, beer and Football Manager, but you can see where we’re coming from. It’s big business.

What do I need to get into the video games industry?

For every role in this line of work, you’ll need to show huge amounts of inventiveness and imagination. There’s no point in hashing out the same old game year after year. Kids will eventually cotton on.

You’ll also need to have a clear understanding of the current computer game market and a good insight into what your target audience will demand from new products. For more technical roles, you will need to have expertise in a range of software packages and programming languages.

What’s more, and here’s the fun part, it helps if you have played your fair share of video games. So there you have it, another excuse to play even more Gears of War!

What roles are there in the video games industry?

If you want to get involved in the technical side of the video games industry, you could become a specialist games programmer and focus on developing computer game engines, the sounds and music of the games, the graphics, the gameplay or even the special effects. If this sounds like something you’d be into, be sure to check out the Development, Design & Programming: Games & Simulations subsector now!

Animators and artists are hired to sketch the original settings of computer games, before they are transformed by the graphic programmers and special effects guys. This whole process involves a lot of collaboration and sharing of ideas.

That brings us nicely to the role of the video game tester. Now, this may sound like THE dream job. You get to test computer games. That’s pretty cool. However, it can involve playing the same five seconds of a game hundreds and hundreds of times, or testing something incredibly small and seemingly insignificant for days at a time. Eventually, you will then feed your findings back to the game designers.

Away from the hands-on world of gaming, you may also work within marketing teams to help promote, advertise and arrange sponsorship for the game. When you play a football game and you see Gillette on the advertising boards, for example, it would be the responsibility of the marketing department to set this up. Every little detail of every game has to be taken care of!

They say you should never mix business with pleasure, but this is one subsector that defies all that – you can literally turn your hobby into a career! It takes a lot of hard work, but if you’ve got the innovative ideas, gaming prowess, and you know what your fellows are after from their gaming experience, there could be a place in this field with your name on it.