Level Up: How your favorite video game shaped your career.

Money lessons are lurking around every corner.  Whether you’re reading children’s books, watching Christmas movies or even playing video games you can’t help but learn about personal finance.

We recently bought our family a Nintendo Switch, and my wife and I have gotten a real kick out of watching our 8-year-old daughter discover Super Mario Brothers for the first time. It got me thinking about the games that shape our childhoods and how that effects you later in life.

Here are 11 classic video games and how they impacted the careers of the people who loved them.


You are likely retired by now.  You were content to do the same thing day after day after day until you reached 30 years working for the same employer.  You got a gold watch, a reliable pension and don’t understand why kids these days keep changing jobs.

Donkey Kong

You took an office job at a Megacorp right out of college.  You have a knack for dodging risks and climbing the corporate ladder.  Even though your CEO is a big dumb ape, you won’t be satisfied until make it up to the executive suite.

Oregon Trail

You are willing to take calculated risks and move for your job.  The thought of traveling from city to city doesn’t scare you.  Opportunity is knocking and you plan on answering.  You are however unwilling to take a job without health insurance do to a constant fear of dying from dysentery.

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

You are full of wanderlust, which is why you quit your 9-5 at age 37 to travel the world. You’re in a new country every 3 months and view work as a necessary evil to fund your travel. Do you know how you’re going to pay for health insurance? No.  Have you saved enough to retire comfortably?  No.  Do you speak 4 languages and know where to get the best falafel in Marrakesh?  Definitely.

Super Mario Brothers

You think trades like plumbing are underrated.  You are willing to do anything to increase your savings rate, even if it means punching holes in the wall looking for coins.  Your ultimate goal is to achieve FIRE power.

Sonic the Hedgehog

You’re a little younger and more aggressive than Mario fans. You’re a little rough around the edges and will do whatever it takes to earn more gold rings….even if it means plowing right through the people closest to you. You have some acquaintances you may call “friends”, but if opportunity strikes you’ll leave them in the dust.

Madden 64

Everyone knows you’re a team player.  You are patient, hardworking and persistent.  You don’t expect everything to go your way, but you do believe that the right skill set will help advance you down the field.  Although competitive at heart, you see losses as a chance to learn and grow.  That “you win some you lose some” facade quickly fades once people see you do your victory dance.

Sim City

You are the ultimate planner.  You don’t do anything on a whim.  Each career move is carefully calculated ahead of time.  You also enjoy tracking everything.  Somewhere on your computer is a net worth spreadsheet and a frequently updated list of 1, 3, 5 and 10 year goals.  You enjoy crossing those goals off the list as you achieve them, but are quick to replace it with something even bigger.

Grand Theft Auto

You are a millennial who expects to get everything their way….one way or another. Sometimes that means bringing your mom along on a job interview. Sometimes it means pulling your boss out of their car and beating them with a golf club.  You will be surprised the first time you discover that the rules apply to you.



Even though you live in the city and can’t manage to keep houseplants alive, you dream of a simpler life in the country.  You enjoy learning about investing, especially about compound interest and dividends. Just watch that nest egg grow! You may occasionally get talked into multilevel marketing schemes that involve you selling things to your friends.

Angry Birds

Your work life could best be described as chaotic.  The team you work with is always changing, but you always manage to work together to get the job done.  You are not content with the status quo.  If something stands in your way you will come at it from every angle to knock it down.

Level Up

Whether you realize it or not, we are constantly being molded by our environment.  The things we love during our formative years can have long-lasting effects on our attitudes towards work and money.  If you have kids, I’d suggest introducing them to whatever game you enjoyed when you were their age.  You’ll be surprised how fun it is to rediscover it through their eyes.

What do you think?  Does your current career sound like it was effected by your favorite games growing up?  Do you wish you reset the game and play with unlimited lives?  Share your thoughts and comments below.  

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4 thoughts on “Level Up: How your favorite video game shaped your career.

  1. It is funny how I can see a distinct line between games I played and loved and the newer ones that I never even considered (started losing me around Sim City (although I have played Angry Birds courtesy of my smart phone and have enjoyed it).

    Although video games sometimes get a bad wrap, there are a lot of skils I have picked up because of it (I’m really good with my hands and when I was a surgery resident was quite agile with laparoscopic surgery which I felt was like a video game)


  2. In my house we never upgraded beyond an Atari 800 with cassette recorder, so our vídeo games were experienced in the arcade. Sonic the Hedgehog was a gene in our lexicon. Still, enjoyed this romp through childhood memories of what the other kids talked about.


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