Houston teen turns gaming hobby into cash

A Houston-area teenager is programming video games and making money while doing so.

HOUSTON - A Houston teenager who loves playing computer games has turned that love into cold-hard cash.

The recent Spring Branch ISD graduate has designed games for Nerf, Xbox and Roblox. Last year, the 18-year-old earned $20,000 while still in high school.

The fun and games began when Luke Tesarek was in middle school. He started playing video games when he was 13. By 14, he was programming, 15 earning money, and just for the summer last year, brought in $8,000.

His first big job came from Nerf. Hasbro wanted a game which advertised its new Zombie Strike toy.

“We were contracted for roughly $21,000 to create a Halloween carnival game," Tesarek said.

Tesarek was the project lead. He hired other programmers, music composers and graphic artists to complete the team. Tesarek just graduated from Memorial High School and was the old man on that team. The average age was 17.

He can spend 30 hours a week programming and on conference calls with his team or employers. Tesarek grew up on and now programs for Roblox, the world largest social platform for gaming.  It allows anyone to design and play games. Tesarek's mom was not happy at first. 

“I used to yell at Luke to get off the computer," said Carol Tesarek, his mother. “(She asked him),'How many viewers do you have?'" She  thought he said 2,000. He had 2 million.

When Luke Tesarek told her Roblox was ready to pay, she said, “I'll believe it when I see it.”

A few days later about $1,000 came through.

Luke Tesarek and his team also have a game on Xbox. Maybe the biggest surprise? How he learned to program all of this.

“I learned thru a YouTube tutorial series," he said.

Want to try? Here’s the tutorial link.

Have a story you’d like to share with Shern-Min Chow? Connect with her on Facebook.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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