And two of them are located in my hometown ... neato!
Originally posted by GamePro The Princeton Review surveyed 50 collegiate game design programs in order to handpick the best schools you should attend if you're interested in going into game development. In this guide to the top eight schools, we break down everything from the cost of tuition to notable game designers who have come from these schools.
Time was to be a game designer, all you needed was a computer and a basement or garage owned by your mother. The only education you needed to be a truly great game designer was a stack of Atari 2600 games and maybe a few issues of Popular Science magazine. Those days are done.
If you want to be a game designer in the maturing market we have today, you need a lot more than your mom's basement and some magazines. You need imagination, determination, and preferably a job with a major game publisher or an indie game developer. And before you can have any of those things, you just might need a formal education.
The Princeton Review serves as America's standard for college preparation and admissions advice. Since 1981, it has been ranking colleges by programs, features, and financial aid packages as well as publishing guidebooks to college admissions. This year, they've surveyed 50 different game design studies programs in the U.S. and Canada and have come up with the best of the best for a degree in video games.
The eight schools on this list were selected by The Princeton Review as the top programs. Some offer only minor degrees or concentrations and some are undergraduate major programs. Some of them have been around since those early Atari days and a few of them only just started game design programs in the last few years. Go to any one of them, though, and you'll be getting some of the best education out there for video game design.
1. University of Southern California, Interactive Media Division
Location: Los Angeles, CA Degrees offered: Major/Minor Number of students enrolled: 16,283 Student/Faculty ratio: 9:1 Annual tuition: $38,570 The Interactive Media Division of USC has graduated some pretty big names in the indie gaming scene. Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany (flOw), Matt Korba and Paul Bellazza of The Odd Gentleman (The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom), and Justin Hall of GameLayers (Passively Multiplayer Online Game) all came up through Division and all almost immediately made games or have game studios of their own.
2. DigiPen Institute of Technology
Location: Redmond, WA Degrees offered: Major/Minor/Conc. Number of students enrolled: 883 Student/Faculty ratio: 12:1 Annual tuition: $476 per credit Founded in 1998, DigiPen is one of the oldest game design programs in the country. Recent graduate Kim Swift (class of 2005) went on to develop the award-winning game, Portal at Valve Corporation before joining Airtight Games as project lead in December 2009. Google "most influential women in the games industry," and you're sure to find her name on at least half a dozen lists from various publications.
3. Drexel University, RePlay (Digital Media & Computer Science)
Location: Philadelphia, PA Degrees offered: Major/Minor/Conc. Number of students enrolled: 13,139 Student/Faculty ratio: 9:1 Annual tuition: $29,800 Graduates from Drexel wind up in a variety of jobs across the games industry. You can find RePlay alumni in everything from animation to community management. Even before the gaming program was formalized, Drexel graduated two people who became big names in the games industry: Tom Fulp is known for creating both the game Alien Hominid and the Flash portal/gaming hotspot, Newgrounds.com; and Jack Wall composed award-winning music for Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation.
4. Becker College, Game Design and Game Programming
Location: Worcester, MA Degrees offered: Major/Concentration Number of students enrolled: 103 Student/Faculty ratio: 39:1 Annual tuition: $23,725 Becker College is famous for its graduates outside the gaming community-people like Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin-but they hope to add gaming industry people to their lineup after graduating their very first class in the Game Design and Game Programming departments just last year. Already, some of their students are finding employment in the industry with studios like Blue Fang Games, which develops the award-winning Zoo Tycoon game series.
5. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences
Location: Troy, NY Degrees offered: Major/Minor/Conc. Number of students enrolled: 5367 Student/Faculty ratio: 14:1 Annual tuition: $38,100 Rensselaer's graduate pool includes a lot of chief executive officers: Kathrik Bala is founder and CEO of Vicarious Visions, which developed several Guitar Hero Wii games among other well-known projects. His fellow RPI alumna Tobi Sauliner worked at Vicarious Visions for five years before going off to found and become CEO of 1st Playable Productions-which handles Cartoon Network's Ben 10 and Secret Saturdays games for the Nintendo DS. More recent graduate Mike DelPrete is founder and CEO of Agora Games, an online game technology and community-building resource for many prominent games such as Guitar Hero and Call of Duty: World at War.
6. The Art Institute of Vancouver, Game Art & Design/Visual & Games Programming
Location: Vancouver, BC (Canada) Degrees offered: Concentration Number of students enrolled: 1530 Student/Faculty ratio: N/A Annual tuition (GAD): $45,465 (international); $39,375 (domestic) Annual tuition (VPG): $38,970 (international); $33,750 (domestic) Though it is an art school, the GAD and VPG programs produce graduates in all kinds of video games industry jobs besides art design and animation. There are alumni in product development, production, game design, level design, and even a film instructor across a number of well known game development studios and film programs.
7. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD)
Location: Worcester, MA Degrees offered: Major Number of students enrolled: 3160 Student/Faculty ratio: 14:1 Annual tuition: $36,890 Pretty much right across the street from Becker College, WPI has a friendly rivalry going for it in the college town of Worcester. Becker College, however, is more of a liberal arts-based school while WPI has a technical emphasis-so it never gets too fierce. Some of its prominent alumni include Chris Dyl, chief technology officer at Turbine; Ichiro Lambe, principle designer at Dejobaan Games (whose most recent game, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!-A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, is nominated for an Independent Games Festival Award); and Mike Gesner, lead designer on Second Life.
8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab
Location: Cambridge, MA Degrees offered: None (see below) Number of students enrolled: 4138 Student/Faculty ratio: 7:1 Annual tuition: $37,510 MIT doesn't offer a game-specific degree; it only has degrees in disciplines like computer science and media studies. Through these programs, however, students can access the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab to work with other schools in collaboration to create games. The other unique thing about MIT's program is they teach students not to crunch by restricting their work on a full-time project to eight hours a day.
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