Students learn development, design in video game classes


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Students can earn degrees or a certificate in game development or design while building a digital portfolio.

Zack Buster, Editor-in-Chief

Approximately 125 students are enrolled in a program at AACC that teaches them how to develop, design or code video games. 

Students can earn a transfer degree in game art and design, or a career degree or certificate in game development. 

Associate professor Drew Snyder, who started the program approximately seven years ago, said the goal is to let students find which part of game development suits them best before they graduate. 

“The idea is we give you the basic skills and understanding of the process so that you can make it your own,” Snyder said. “If you think you’re interested in studying games, I mean, our first goal is, do you understand how games are made? Like what is the production pipeline? What are the different jobs there? What are the different skills that are needed?”

Snyder added those in the program will be able to “reverse engineer” a video game by the end of it.

“If you came into the program … you would have a good understanding of how any game is made,” Snyder, who has taught game design for 20 years, said. 

Second-year game art and design student Julius Ighade said he felt discouraged by his previous career in management so he came back to school to learn about a field he loved.

“I got really just frustrated with it,” Ighade said. “And I just fell into a pool of depression. … I saw game development. Then I took it and I was happy.”

First-year game development student Da’Monte Booze echoed Ighade, saying his college “journey” started when he took a few classes on video games to “just mess around.” Then, after realizing he liked them and taking some time to think, he made game development his major.

Snyder said the classes ditch the traditional course format for a project-based structure so by the end of the program, students have a demo—or game preview—to show to potential employers and build their portfolios.

“We don’t do quizzes,” Snyder said. “We don’t do tests and that kind of stuff. It’s all really making something and applying whatever you learn.”

Booze said the program is an “interactive” experience with a “learn-as-you-go atmosphere.”