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A day at the Electronic Arts Headquarters

standard September 3, 2009 3 responses

The invitation came via email and I accepted post haste. What’s not to say yes to? A day touring the Electronic Arts headquarters? Playing some of the newest and hottest games? I might not be an inveterate gamer, but sign me up anyway. I know fun when I see it!

We started with a long round of game testing.

Wait. That’s not true. We started with a yummy lunch. Where I got to chat with Renee of Cutie Booty Cakes and Design Mom. And I realized that I had missed out on a ton by not making it to the first day of the event. And also that I was the only local blogger in attendance. (Shortly after Techmama showed up so I didn’t feel so alone!)

After that we were brought into a room lined with large screen TVs each displaying a new game that Electronic Arts wanted to show off.

I spent a bit of time trying out Charm Girls Club, which you totally need to get if you have a pre-teen girl’s slumber party planned in the near future.

Then I watched some Harry Potter action. The graphics on this game are amazing. It’s like watching a movie. I didn’t stick around long enough to see if the game was any good, but the DS version is quite entertaining.

I spent the bulk of my time playing what has to be the most awesome game ever. Electronic Arts collaborated with Hasbro to bring to life some of our favorite childhood games and some more modern ones – Operation, Jenga, Bop-It, Pictureka, and Connect 4. There’s just enough of the games to make them feel familiar, but they’ve been modernized and given video game attributes that make them fun and new and nothing that kids will sneer at. Family Game Night 2 comes out in October, but the original version is sitting in my bag, waiting to be tested out this weekend.

The other game that caught my eye was My Sims Agents. There are just no words for how cute the game is. And for a cop show lover like myself, it’s like video game crack. Cannot wait until it comes out.
After plenty of gaming our wonderful hosts decided that clearly we needed a bit more gaming. So they had organized a fun treat – a game truck! A truck! With video games in it. So fun. OK. Maybe a bit claustrophobic, but fun.
After all that our thumbs needed a break and our feet needed to move so we took a tour of the main campus.

This is the main lobby.
With a Starbucks INSIDE.
And this is the outdoor maze that employees can walk.
You know, when they need a breath of nature.

We also saw the full basketball court, spied the gym and one of the cafeterias, hung out in one of the many game rooms, and were all in all awed by the facilities. But, as I kept reminding myself (and refraining from voicing out loud), most of the Silicon Valley companies that offer so many perks to their employees do so because they expect a ton out of them in return. Then again Electronic Arts was just named a “Fit Friendly” company by the American Heart Association, so maybe they do let their employees leave their desks to run around once in a while.

All joking aside, one quick tour around the EA campus and it’s obvious how passionate these people are about games and gaming and it shows in the product. It’s going to be a great holiday season for gamers!

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