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Educational Feature: Characteristics of Successful Game Designers

Educational Feature: Characteristics of Successful Game Designers

December 23, 2008 | By Jill Duffy




A new educational article on GameCareerGuide.com explores some of the common characteristics of successful game designers, including their education level and learning style. Game designer and educator Dr. Lewis Pulsipher considers the possibilities.

Pulsipher also discusses what it means to be an “educated” game designer, weighing one’s attitude about learning and discovery against going through a university system.

Likewise, he sees game design as something that is not compartmentalized in most game designers’ lives, but instead integral to it. “Game design is not something you turn on and turn off daily -- it’s something that must be with you all the time, that you must make an effort to pursue. Persistence is more important than ‘creativity,’” Pulsipher writes.

“If you read good advice about breaking into the game industry, that advice will include ‘read as much as you can’ and ‘educate yourself as much as possible,’ even as the advisors suggest that a bachelor's degree is a good idea. …

“In general, game designers must have an ‘educated’ attitude, even if they have no more formal learning than a high school diploma. I’m not talking about the classic idea of the ‘well-educated’ person, which relates to particular things like knowledge of the Classics. Let me hasten to say that ‘educated’ refers to an attitude, not a degree earned.

“Fortunately, the game industry does not yet have the ‘degree-it is’ that is invading all walks of American life, as though the only way you can learn something is to get a degree in it. The video game industry is still a meritocracy, where you are valued and hired for what you can do and what you can create.”

Dr. Pulsipher comes from the non-electronic side of game design, and teaches video game design at Fayetteville Technical Community College, N.C. His complete article is available for free on GameCareerGuide.com, Gamasutra’s sister web site for educational and career-related issues in game development.


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