“When I was a kid…”
I know such a statement is usually met with eye rolls and disengagement, but stick with me for just a couple of minutes. When I was a kid, we did have color TV, and even cell phones. There were DVDs, PDAs, and video games that were actually fun, visually appealing, and full of entertainment value. But (you knew it was coming), never in a million years did I think the hours spent playing games would benefit fit me in any capacity outside of my living room.
Fast forward to today. Kids and teens can still play all they want, but there are also a ton of options if you want to make your own game. Plus, more and more universities are offering courses in video game programming – prestigious college programs that would have never thought of incorporating these types of classes into the curriculum in years past.
The University of British Columbia is the latest example, hitting a major milestone recently by completing its first-ever course in video game programming. Kimberly Voll, an award-winning lecturer and UBC faculty member explains that such a course hadn’t ever been offered in her department because of their longstanding goal to provide a “strong computer-science education.”
So what changed? Voll admits that pressure from students and employers shifted the department’s focus, as more and more people are now looking for course work and skill-building in video games and digital media. “The students coming through our doors are certainly looking more for those kinds of experiences.”
As students begin to get involved in programming video games at camp and in other settings at a young age, I would say that pressure is only going to build stronger with each day that passes.