If there's one fact that seems inescapable in my life right now, it's that you need money to play video games. I keep trying to sit alone in my room with the lights off and then shades drawn, but my landlord and electrician and debt collectors just will NOT leave me alone. So here's what I'm thinking — what if I could kill two birds with one stone? What if I could make money while because I'm playing video games? And so, here are my plans to do just that.
Video game tester
This is the only job where you are actively expected to play video games while you're on the clock, but there is a dark side. Video game testers don't get to sit back and enjoy the game they're testing, oh no. They actively work to break the game — traveling down every wrong path, using the wrong item at the wrong time, jumping when it makes no sense to jump — trying to catch any bugs before a paying customer does.
Indeed, video game testing a cruel bargain — you get to spend time playing the games you love, but you must work to destroy them. It's like getting to spend an hour with your grandpa a year after he's passed away but you have to spend that time putting cigarettes out on his face.
Work at GameStop
You'll learn pretty quickly working at GameStop that the times when the store is slow enough for you to sneak off and play those display consoles are actually few and far between. So to make sure you get in enough time playing video games while you work at GameStop is to simply play the games anyhow. I mean, yeah, it shows how little you care about your customers, but I'm pretty confident GameStop is okay with that, since they didn't listen when I told them for the fiftieth goddamn time that I don't want to reserve any upcoming title for the love of CHRIST.
Review games for a website
There are plenty of websites who will pay you to write reviews, but reviews for all the meaningful games go to the publication's on-staff editors. So unless you want to review Barbie's Alphabet Adventure or Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, you better get that journalism degree. And even then, that journalism degree so rarely leads to a game reviewing job. You're much more likely to be reporting on cases of local politicians abusing their power.
That's not to say you'll be completely removed from video games, however. I can't imagine Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City being released without some sort of local politician abusing his power.
Play games on your iPhone while you're at work
If your boss doesn't catch you, they'll never know, and since you're on the clock, you're technically being paid to play video games! Although, if your boss does catch you, he will know, and since you're on the clock, you're technically being fired! Maybe next time you won't send him a request to play Draw Something during work hours like I did six months ago on my last day at Pizza Hut.
Many Major League Gaming players are picking up endorsement deals and making some big-time money, so this might be the pinnacle of playing video games for money. You have to be the best in the world at your game though. Do you have what it takes to spend all day and night, playing nothing but your favorite video game, ignoring texts, calls, even your body's natural impulse to get up and move around? Can you train hard, drinking nothing but Mountain Dew, eating nothing but oven-baked crispy crust Tombstone pizzas, and sleeping only between the hours of 6am and 4pm? Ultimately, if you really really want to be a professional gamer, you have to look inward and ask yourself — really ask yourself — if your life is sad enough.
Teach a rich old eccentric how to use technology
Here's the thing about weird old people with money — they don't know what to do with themselves. So if some dude made his money from a steel shipping yard back in the, like, 1900s, the odds that he understands technology are slim, and the odds that his children love him enough to try to teach him are even slimmer. So what does he do? He hires some young tech-minded kid to teach him the ins and outs of technology! So you can play Bejeweled while he watches, to "give him a sense of the interface" everyday for however long it takes you to beat Bejeweled, since that fool isn't going to remember what you showed him the day before!
And sure, you might feel guilty ripping him off in this way, but, you shouldn't. There's no way he made that much money without murdering at least one person.
What would you do to play games for cash money? Let me know on Twitter at @mikeyfromsu or in the comments below!