My career at GameStop has influenced my gaming at home as well. I find that my purchasing decisions are not only based on what I like to play, but also what the people in the store are talking about. If an employee recommends a game, I always make sure to try it out for myself. Because of those suggestions, I've been introduced to franchises I would have never tried on my own. Series like Professor Layton, Phoenix Wright, F.E.A.R. and even Call of Duty have become some of my top picks solely because another employee showed me what I was missing.
But while my coworkers have exposed me to what would become some of my favorite games, I still feel as if I could be more immersed in the industry. Even though I'm helping to sell their products, I feel disconnected from the game makers themselves. Most of the information I've gathered about the gaming world (developers, personalities, etc.) I've had to find on my own rather than at work. Names like Tim Schafer, Cliff Bleszinski, and Reggie Fils-Aime would be unknown to me if I hadn't seen them online. Dead Space was developed by Visceral Games, the same studio behind The Godfather; but if my knowledge came solely from GameStop, I would think it was just EA behind both titles. To some, it's a trivial distinction, but if the fans of the games we sell know the difference, then I feel we should as well.
Occasionally, the company offers a glimpse into the industry itself. Every year in early September, all of the managers in the company meet for a week-long conference which is basically their own personal E3. All of the top gaming companies are there, giving presentations and demoing their games just as they did for the gaming press earlier in the summer. But while my manager gets to enjoy this great perk, I'm stuck staying behind and managing the store without him. As an employee, it's understandable - someone has to keep the trains running on time in the manager's absence. But as a gamer, it's hard to stomach, especially when I hear from my manager about games I won't get to play for months. Receiving a text message telling you how great Scribblenauts and Brutal Legend are while processing a 30-game trade-in back at home is excruciating.