Friday, September 05, 2008

School? or Guitar Hero?

This 16-year-old chose Guitar Hero, and his parents are OK with that.

In fact, young Mr. Peebles is dropping out of high school... in order to focus on Guitar Hero full time. Peebles hopes to join the small but growing crew of players looking to make gaming a job. Citing his victories in Guitar Hero tournaments, which include "gift certificates, gaming equipment, and chicken sandwiches," Peebles thinks he has the chops to play competitively and earn actual money in the process. As the story notes, top gamers on the competitive circuit can earn up to $80,000 a year (though $25,000 is more common). Peebles, of course, can count his 52 Chick-fil-A combo meals toward that total.

He's won more combo meals than I have, so I guess that's something.


Ellen K said...

So his parents think this is a career goal? Even in our enlightened age I have yet to hear of anyone being hired for more than a part time job because of his or her gaming skills. I think his parents should be brought up on charges.

KauaiMark said...

"I have yet to hear of anyone being hired for...gaming skills"

Sadly, I do.

I know a couple guys that are employed as "game testers" because there are adept at finding bugs in video games by playing until they break.

they make damn good $$

Darren said...

More power to them. At least they're earning their money honestly.

And, in defense of the kid I wrote about, the rest of the article mentioned that he's got a tutor. Perhaps he's still working towards a diploma.

Traditional high school isn't for everyone. But I'm not convinced the parents are sending this kid a very good message by letting him focus on playing video games so much; if I'm wrong and he's some sort of electronic virtuoso, then I'm wrong, but the odds are with me.

M.A. said...

I have seen (and heard about) many high school athletes who disregard their responsibilities as students, doing only enough to remain eligible (if that much), because they believe they are going to "make it to the pros". Yet, about 5% of high school athletes play at the college level and less than 3% of college athletes become professional athletes.

Now we are going to have a whole new population of gamers with the same "I don't need school" attitude.

And yet when students fail, it's the teacher's fault.

Melissa B. said...

Is this legit? Or is it aprocryphal? What's the source? Just curious...

BTW, if you have some time tomorrow, drop on by my place. We're playing the Silly Sunday Sweepstakes, and Sharing All That Caption Love!

michael mazenko said...

My thought is that while Mr. Peebles may be dropping out of high school, he could very well be dropping back in by the beginning of the next semester. To his credit, he is dropping out with a plan - albeit a rather ridiculous one in my opinion - as opposed to the tens of thousands who will drop out with no idea what they want other than to be out of high school. His parents seem willing to support this, and him, while he chases the dream, and they may well be in the financial, as well as emotional, situation to do so. I doubt it will last long.

That said, Darren makes a valid point about the reality that college is not for everyone. Most college educated people don't realize that only 24% of the Americans actually have a college degree. That means we are a predominantly high-school educated workforce. That revelation can be rather shocking to the average teacher or middle class citizen. The reality is we need to acknowledge this situation and figure out how we can better serve the three-quarters of the population who are in college prep schools but who have no intention of completing college.

Additionally, the new economy - that of Web 2.0 - is surprising me in new ways all the time. I had no idea that people were earning a living with games like World of Warcraft and Guitar Hero, but, alas, they are. Stranger still are the people who make real money selling virtual real estate and virtual products in Second Life. It's a brave new world out there, and people like Mr. Peebles might just be better off than we'd expect.

Thanks for the post, Darren. This stuff always amuses me.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Like everything else you eat, it all comes out in the end. Words to live by.

ricki said...

This story is from the Onion, right? Some kind of social commentary on kids bypassing schooling for sports, or something?

I will say Mr. Peebles can always go BACK to school via GED or some other pathway when the "Guitar Hero" bubble bursts.

Quincy said...

Ellen/Kauaimark -

Believe it or not, the ability to come at a video game (or other piece of software) from a user's point of view and methodically test it is an extremely worthwhile skill.

It's kind of like having someone else proofread a piece of your writing. You can (and should) do it yourself, but you're apt to overlook mistakes because you know what you meant to say. Likewise, software developers who test their own code tend to miss defects because they're looking to make sure the intended functionality works.

In a complex system like a modern video game, someone testing just for what it should do will miss a lot of stuff. Hence, you have dedicated testers who know how to attack games and look for everything, intended and otherwise.