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There's a fair few perks associated with writing about games for a living, as you might imagine. Free games, free consoles to play them on, free sausages-on-sticks at launch events and the opportunity to meet your heroes.

If I get flattened by a bus on the way out today, my final thought will probably be something like: "Well, I did get to interview Miyamoto five times. Fair enough. Oh, but… ARGH."

But the absolute best part of the job, that 'winning-life's-lottery' moment for geeks, is getting to travel the world to visit the studios where the world's biggest games are made, meeting the swollen ranks of unsung heroes who slave away in the shadows, and witnessing first-hand how a game springs to life from audacious idea to disc-in-machine.

And knowing, when walking, awe-struck through the hallowed corridors of the best of them, how amazing it must be to have the actual discernible talent required to get a job there.

Many studios make great games, but not all studios are great places – trust me, I've been to one in the Ukraine. Here, though, are the sexiest, swankiest, most ridiculously cool games studios on the planet.

EA Canada

EA Canada

 

The best of the best and the home of FIFA. It overlooks Vancouver, a city of devastating beauty. It has it own football pitch, sports arena, university, cinema and – not kidding – massage parlour. The food's pretty good, too.

 

Sony Santa Monica

The Tester Santa Monica Studios

 

Think LA sunshine. Think five minutes from the beach. Think games like God of War and Journey. And when you've done thinking, go cross the street and visit their neighbour, Naughty Dog.

 

Konami Tokyo

Konami Tokyo

 

Based in Midtown in the world's most exciting gaming city, Konami doesn't just have an office, it owns a bloody great tower. There's the PES team on one floor (who love a bit of karaoke), but the real excitement is in rubbish shoulders with a certain Mr Hideo Kojima.

 

LucasArts

LucasArts

 

Okay, so they haven't made a decent game in years, and a third of the staff were fired in 2010. BUT they share an office with LucasFilm, which means priceless movie memorabilia and props everywhere. And they have a coffee shop called Java the Hutt. And they have a statue of Yoda outside the front door.

 

DICE

Dice

 

The brilliant studio behind the Battlefield series has arguably the best view in gaming, looking right out over Stockholm's impossibly lovely old town. Inside isn't too shabby either, with designer furniture, a gym, table tennis and cabinets jammed with shiny awards in case they forget how super-talented they are.

 

Media Molecule

Media Molecule

 

When the creators of LittleBigPlanet suddenly shot to fame, they worked in a cramped space down a backstreet in Guildford, whose entrance looked like a minicab office. They've since moved, but it's less about the building and more about the culture. I mean, just imagine how much fun those guys must have making games.

 

Ubisoft Montreal

Ubisoft Montreal

 

The French publisher's Canadian super studio is packed with top talent hand-picked from around the world. The home of Splinter Cell, Prince of Persia, Far Cry and Assassin's Creed, the inspirational, multi-cultural team reflects the character of the city it is set in. Bloody cold in winter, mind.

 

Rocksteady

Rocksteady

 

One of the nicest bunch of guys in the industry has also made two of its best games: Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Set in uber-trendy north London, it's single, standout feature is the amazing Disco Toilet (see image).

 

Valve

Valve

 

If there was any lingering doubt that the studio behind Half-Life, Left 4 Dead and Portal was a crazily awesome place to work, that doubt was smashed to pieces last week by the leak of the epic Valve Employees Handbook. Read it and weep the bitter tears of envy.

 

Nintendo EAD

Nintendo EAD

 

Okay, so it might look like a Cold War-era prison, but can you think of anyone better to be locked up with than Shigeru Miyamot? Famously secretive, Nintendo apparently closes every blind in the building when the windows are being cleaned. In case you were getting any ideas.


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