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What kind of degree (major and degree level) would you ideally need to be a video game designer?

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I'm currently looking into different career path choices. I have dabbled in video game design since I was about 8 years old, and I was curious as to what to pursue in college if I decide I want to continue to a professional level. #career-planning #video-game-production #college-major

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Kevin’s Answer

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Video game designers are strange animals (I should know, I've been one). Game designers need to be well-versed in many fields: storytelling, user experience, puzzles, games, project management, team management, history, psychology, system design -- it goes on and on. For this reason, there has never been one good answer for your question. Specialized bachelor and master degrees in game design are a fairly recent development. I've been teaching game design courses for 10 years and I'm still refining and updating what I do. My bachelors degree is in Film and Video Production. It turns out the screenwriting and stage production courses came in very handy for launching my game design career. I later earned a masters degree in Multimedia Arts to get a better grasp on the software involved and to build up my portfolio. Other designers I know majored in writing, history, economics, computer science and other fields.


The main thing abut game designers is that they are always learning -- and they like that. Every project I have worked on has required me to acquire specialized skills in order to complete it. I had to learn all about woodworking to create projects for a Tonka game. I had to find out what 10-year-old girls like in order to design a series of Baby-sitters Club games. Then I had to learn all about the Lewis & Clark Expedition to design a game about that.


You may find that you can major in whatever you wish, as long as you play a great variety of games in your free time and try creating a few, too. And if you are really focused on being a game designer, remember that board games and card games count, too. Don't be afraid to take a stab at designing a few of those first.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

  • You should really check out this book, too --> Challenges for Game Designers by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber. It should help you figure things out..
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