Most people think ”work” is the opposite of ”play,” but for Linda Molinari, 30, they’re one and the same. She’s one of the 250 Game Play Counselors who advise frustrated Nintendo players by phone from a football field-size control room at the video-game giant’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
An arcade player since her junior high days, Molinari had dozens of games down cold before she even applied for the job. She says that being a counselor allows her to combine her two favorite activities: playing games and talking on the telephone (a GPC can take as many as 150 calls a day).
But life for Molinari isn’t all fun and games. She’s the single mother of a 5-year-old son, Bennie, who, thanks to her job, has become something of a celebrity among his fellow preschoolers. ”He knows that mommy works at Nintendo,” Molinari says, ”and he loves it when the kids make a fuss.” He enjoys it, too, when she teaches him to read using a combination of Nintendo Power magazine (which offers tips to game players) and the text screen from Tiny Toon Adventures for the Super NES. Any guesses on who’s gonna be a vide-ogame champ 10 years down the road?