There’s an old commercial for Westwood College that’s become something of a running joke in the video game world. Two young men sit at a couch, hammering away at PlayStation controllers. A woman walks in. “Hey guys, finish testing that game yet?” she asks. “I’ve got another one I need designed.”
In February of 2011, fresh off nine months of 80-hour work weeks, Jessica Chavez took a pair of scissors to her hair. She’d been working so hard on a video game—14 hours a day, six days a week—that she hadn’t even had a spare hour to go to the barber.