Hobby becomes career for adults

Holly Mueller

Candyland: ages three and up. Clue: ages eight and up. World of Warcraft: available online to anyone, anywhere, any age.

Watch out, little ones – games aren’t just for kids anymore.

The generation that grew up playing video games is now making a career out of that childhood hobby.

Students across the nation can major in video games, said Drew Davidson, director of the Game Art & Design Program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

“In fact, it’s one of the most popular new degrees offered at art institutes around the country,” Davidson said in his article “Games by Degrees: Playing with Programs” published in the 2005 issue of On the Horizon.

Though offered at many art institutes, gaming degrees are emerging from traditional universities as well – such as Kent State.

“Kent definitely follows the national trend of offering gaming as a major,” said Jeramy Spring, senior computer animation and design major. “There is just so much interest in game design.”

Kamal Bichara, assistant professor at Kent Tuscarawas, said it’s a good time to have game development as a part of Kent’s computer design and animation program.

“We feel a responsibility on one hand to provide the games industry with the workforce it increasingly demands,” Bichara said. “On the other hand, our games courses are designed as opportunities . that can lead to new kinds of revolutionary game designs.”

While the computer design and animation program began changing in 1995, the first graduating class was in 2002, Bichara said.

Vas Patibandla, assistant professor at the Tuscarawas campus, said all Kent students can take gaming courses, but the main program was developed and is still located at the Tuscarawas campus.

Students in Kent can take his gaming courses, such as Advanced Animation and Gaming, through distance learning classes at Van Deusen, Patibandla said.

Contact School of Technology reporter Holly Mueller at [email protected].