Andrew Reiner has hung out with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, has every video game system on his desk and gets paid to play games on them.
So yes, by his own admission, Reiner, executive editor of Minneaplis-based Game Informer magazine, does have the coolest job in the world. Except for those pesky monthly deadlines that Reiner, 36, has faced for each issue for the 18 years he has been at the magazine, which has more than 7 million subscribers. And the people who, upon learning of his occupation, conclude, "You play video games for a living."
"That's the most frustrating part of my job," Reiner said. "I do to an extent. But there's a lot of writing involved. I manage a staff here; I have 18 guys. There's a lot of PR, getting the games in, figuring out the coverage."
In addition to the magazine, Reiner posts writings and videos on Game Informer's rapidly growing website and talks about games and game systems on local and national radio shows. That leaves time to review three or four games a month, Reiner said -- and that can be more work than play. "A game like 'The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,' that's a 100-hour-plus game," he said. "When you review games like that, you're playing them 12 hours a day sometimes."
Reiner also travels for work, hitting the annual E3 expo, the gaming industry's huge get-together in Las Vegas. He also visits studios to report on new releases and has scored interviews with Lucas and Spielberg, who took note of Reiner's then-blue hair.
Three and out with Andrew Reiner
Q: What appeals to you about playing video games?
A: There are so many universes, things to get into, things you've never seen before, stories you've never been told. That's a big draw. And being a huge central part of it. Your actions are dictating what's going on.
Q: How do you fuel up for a 12-hour gaming session?
A: I'm a pretty healthy guy. (I'm trying to get back into playing amateur baseball.) I usually have a salad and juice. I know that sounds lame. If I do have to keep going, coffee is probably the legal drug of choice.
Q: Do you play games off the clock?
A: Pretty much every night I go home and play games. I still manage to find a social life. I have a wife and play in a band, Tripping Icarus. It's [Minnesota Vikings punter and video gamer] Chris Kluwe's band. I'm the lead guitarist.