By: Stephen Dalton
Few people have the opportunity to do for a living exactly what they would be doing in their spare time. But Benny Torres has exactly that job, he’s basically getting paid to be an avid videogame fan. Torres, a 23-year-old recent college graduate, is earning $65K a year working for the major Chicago advertising agency, Leo Burnett. He was discovered to be the videogame prodigy he is while doing an internship at the agency. His employers soon realized what a wealth of knowledge on existing and upcoming games Leo possessed in that skull of his. Much of which he had gathered by scouring the internet fan sites and trolling message boards in his spare time. Now he spends his days researching and writing up ‘game briefs’ for titles that Leo Burnett plans on doing ad campaigns for. He gives the creative ad types the low down on the upcoming buzz from the game world’s most loyal followers. Torres also provides some important background information on the history of game franchises that aren’t exactly in the game box blurb. According to the Portfolio profile of Torres, he totally nailed the Mario Kart ad:
Torres’ game brief was instrumental in the development of a recent television ad for Mario Kart Wii, a cart-driving game. In the commercial, a huckster named Cowboy Jed enthusiastically tells viewers to check out all the carts they can drive in the game as banjo music jangles in the background. “I made sure our whole team understood this whole game is all about the mayhem and the frenzy and just the craziness of racing,” Torres says. The resulting ad was “very true to the spirit of the game,” he adds.
But what’s Torres’ favorite game? Zelda for 64, dude. Anyone who says otherwise is full of crap. Torres refers to it as the first masterpiece in the immersible high quality 3-D graphics future of video games, the ‘Gone With The Wind‘ of the industry, if you will. I think I will agree that Torres has quite the dream job here. He gets to travel to gamer conventions, conferences, play all the games he wants, has a decent just-out-of-college salary, and is probably one of the most important voices for his company when it comes to videogames. Besides, pro consumer is way cooler than toiling away for hours on a 30 second clip of a game as a video game designer. And who really wants to be a professional video gamer competing in Halo tournaments all over the world? That sounds like it would be so competitive, it would suck all the fun out of a game. So for everyone out there who was told it was a waste of time to argue the merits of Goldeneye vs. Call of Duty on a gaming message board for 9 hours at 3 in the morning, there is a dream job out there for you. Portfolio: Mostly Fun and Games, July 13, 2008