Many are surprised to learn that the company that creates some of the world’s bestselling video games (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) is headquartered in Bethesda. “We’re still kind of a secret in the area,” says Bethesda Game Studios’ (bethesdagamestudios.com) director and executive producer, Todd Howard. Growing up Howard loved playing Bethesda Softworks hockey games. Driving back and forth from college at William and Mary, he would see the company’s headquarters on his trip. One day he decided to pop in and ask for a job. That was 1994, and he’s been there ever since. “If you’re a creative person who loves technology and gadgets, it’s an amazing industry to be in,” he says. “Games can transport you in a way that movies or television or books can’t,” he says. That is especially true for the role-playing games Howard is known for like Fallout 3, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic Washington complete with a Jefferson Memorial that doubles as a radioactive water processing plant. Howard touts being close to Washington as a perk for behind-the-scenes access to NASA and Smithsonian artifacts. “We like to see how and why things were built,” he conveys. With so much responsibility—it can take three to five years and hundreds of people to create one game—Howard doesn’t get to play as many video games as he used to, but he’s still a proud high-score holder on Tetris. “Probably the world’s best video game,” he jokes.