Computer Gaming Workshop: GCC

From Muzzy Lane

Muzzy Lane creates educational games in MA, wish they had come to this workshop! They have an awesome Advisory Staff–Henry Jenkins, Eric Klopfer, and Kurt Squire to name a few!

On 6/1/2011, I was lucky enough to be invited to this event, sponsored by CAITE and GCC, which brought together reps from the gaming industry, educators from 2 year schools and 4 year schools, and people like me–interested in games as tools of education. The day was full of info, but here are what I gleaned to be most interesting (yet not necessarily education related):

  • Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (Mass DiGI) is a newly formed, state funded program housed at Becker College, one Tim Loew of Becker College, Key Note Speakerof the top 10 Gaming colleges in the US.  It’s working to provide empirical benchmarks for the industry, to develop talent and keep it in MA by informing MA educators of MA gaming industry needs, and to develop more direct and indirect jobs.
  • Digital games industry is 3x bigger than the music industry.
  • There are roughly 1300 directly related gaming  positions in MA, and roughly 1200 students graduating in gaming in MA, yearly.
  • Languages to learn for gaming are c++, Flash, Unity, c#, Java Script…
  • Employers are looking for problem solvers, adaptibility, communicators, proffesionalism, ability to work across domains, project management skills, “schmoozing” and networking skills.
  • Don’t submit cookie-cutter reels from class projects, they won’t even get looked at.
  • Employers have difficulties in finding art talent in the valley, and nearly impossible to find anyone who knows Unity.
  • Students should be educated in industry news.
  • Many of the classes taught in community colleges are not transferrable to the 4 year schools, though, some schools will work with you on specific classes, especially Champlain College, Becker, North Eastern, Springfield College.
  • There will soon be an AP exam in Java.
  • The North Eastern University rep said “It might just be that high school doesn’t prepare kids well enough.  They are good students, but don’t know the content”.
  • Many of the elite colleges are choosing transfer students over high school students, even though they are not accepting all of their credits.
  • Many of the industry reps have hired students who have only been part of Animation Mentor.

There you have it!  The community colleges seemed to be very frustrated with the 4 year schools, in that there are no easy ways to create an associate’s degree that will qualify for the first 2 years of a 4 year degree.  Yet, industry was not interested in hiring employees based on their level of education, the weight is mostly in the portfolio.  There was very little discussion about Serious Games, or games for education.

Please add your comments; feel free to make corrections, additions, or contributions as to what was the biggest take-away for you!

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2 thoughts on “Computer Gaming Workshop: GCC

  1. Mentioned in this article 10 gaming colleges. What colleges are recommended to concentrate on Computer Science with focus on the gaming industry. Son is going into his senior high schol year, and we are looking at several; RIT, Marist, Ithaca, Drexel, Purdue, and George Masson.
    Thank you

    • Hi Mark,
      I contacted Tim Loew at Becker to get an answer for you…
      Here is his emailed response:

      There are plenty of great undergraduate game design/programming/development programs in the northeast including two of
      the best right here in Massachusetts – Becker College and WPI; both have been ranked in the top 10 by The Princeton Review for the past two years. Other
      programs in Mass. can be found at Northeastern, Springfield, Suffolk,Mt. Ida etc. Champlain in Vermont is also ranked in the top 10 as is RIT
      in upstate NY. RPI is pretty good too – it got an honorable mention.

      Below are links to The Princeton Review list and Becker’s program. Hope
      this helps! Thanks. – Tim

      http://www.princetonreview.com/top-undergraduate-schools-for-video-game-design.aspx

      http://www.becker.edu/network/gamedev/

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