Gaming the (Educational) System

Although video games have been around for decades, if you want to go about making games for a living, the paths to doing so aren’t readily laid out for you. Fortunately, more and more universities and colleges are now offering courses and degrees focused on game design. Here, DIG gives an overview of some of the different game design programs across the country, as well as what skills, materials and advice students need to get properly schooled for a career in the games industry.


Katherine Isbister, an associate professor of digital media and computer science at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, adds that studying game development isn’t, well, all fun and games. “Someone who mostly wants to just play games, or talk and write about games, shouldn’t really go into a game development program,” she says. “At this point, there are great programs that emphasize critique and theory about games too, so be clear about why you are getting into this.”

Many prospective students seeking a higher education are often undecided in their specific areas of study. But would-be game developers should have at least some idea of what they’re looking to do within the industry if they want to go to a tailored program.

“As far as technical skills go, it depends upon the game program itself,” explains Isbister. “Many programs have multiple tracks, so having strength in one core area of game development -- programming, art, management -- may be fine.”

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