Thought i would drop by and give a couple of my opinions.Hope that is ok.
An internship is a fabulous way into the games industry , it allows you not only a dramatically increased chance of making it into the grounds of a large and popular company, but also allows you a lot of freedom and flexibility for learning the trade in the environment.
After 6 months of an internship, your fully aware of the scheduling, expectations and limitations of the position and the company, and will be sure to learn almost everything you need to know to do your job efficiently. ( If you work hard and absorb everything ).
I started an apprenticeship in the games industry years ago, and while the pressure is not so much on you , you get a great chance to learn and absorb everything from the super talented people that are around you. Your workload is usually reduced from what a regular employee may have, and the flexibility is there for your progression and education within the fim.
I recommend this route for anyone who has the ambition and a solid base of good personal work, but without the experience to apply for more senior positions .
While intern's in some companies can be open to abuse, in the fact that they can be overworked or put onto tasks such as uvmapping all day every day..A lot of companies are not like this. When you show yourself as a profficient artist, able and willing to take on larger more important tasks, usually the opportunities to do that are there.
There will always be situations where this is not the case and interns are relegated to making coffee and fetching sandwiches, but even then , you are inside the company and ready to take on higher tasks and positions when the time arises,
Ea and lucasarts both have internshop programs, usually lasting 3-6 months, and can put you in a position to show your profficiency, and give you a taste of the industry. But 3 months in my opinion is not long enough to grasp enough experience to move into another company when the former let you go.
many smaller studios will take on talented interns for a lower wage, without the phone/on-site interviews, callbacks, second interviews and so on. The process is quicker, and once there.. well.. the same as previously stated.
I'd recommend emailing and ringing around all the games studies in your area, but also take a risk and email/ring companies in other area, countries.. continents even. Sometimes a new start, in a whole different place, can really motivate you even more to make a go of the new internship. I believe this is especially true for college grads. Moving country really pushes you into believing your new life, new job, and new stage in your life has come, and you can move forward from here with a fresh outlook.
You may think to yourself that your too valuable to go for an internship, too old, or too experienced. Well applying for a regular position is just like with any other job. The less senior the position the more the company may be open to 'warm hiring', hiring on your potencial to grow within the company as an artist. Some companies have a strick no warm hire policy ( I believe Blur studios is one ) , And will only hire new people on recommendation , experience and solid kick-ass portfolio. Of course, knowing someone in the compnay is always a great way to get your foot in the door, which is why i strongly recommened networking at cg/tech/games events, keeping on top of the technology and companies in the industry, new techniques and software.