I first became obsessed with video games when I was 11. I played Call Of Duty at a friend’s house one day after school and couldn’t get enough. I begged my parents for a gaming console, which they got me for my birthday, and I’ve been hooked ever since. All I wanted to do in my free time was play, and I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I reached a new level. When I started college, I assumed I would study business or accounting and keep playing video games as a hobby in my spare time. But the more courses I took in economics and business administration, the more I realized my heart just wasn’t in it. I was so much more interested in the latest games, understanding how they worked, and engaging with the gaming community. Was there a way I could find a career in that industry?
I obviously wasn’t going to switch majors overnight, but I started looking into what skills were needed to become a game developer. Programming, software engineering, storytelling skills. It seemed like a lot, and I had no experience in any of these things. I was immediately intimidated, but I wanted to learn more. And then I came across Endless Studios.
Endless Studios is youth-focused game making studio, where teens and young adults apprentice with game industry pros and other aspiring game makers to actually create video games. This sounded awesome, and sort of like the perfect place to learn more about game development and decide if I really wanted to change my academic focus. The more I read about the Endless Studios Youth Game Academy, the more excited I became. All the things I needed to learn how to do were covered in the course - storytelling, art and design, engineering and coding, project management, and cross-team collaboration. All great skills to have in the 21st century, not to mention great things to add to future job applications no matter what the job was.
I saved up to take the 6 week course, which included two classes a week, mentor feedback, weekend workshops, and access to the Endless Studios learning platform whenever I wanted. The syllabus was really thorough and I was excited to dive in and get started!
Right from the start, I loved the course. The sessions were interesting and I was learning a ton. Plus, I had access to open work hours where I got to know my classmates and discuss ideas with instructors. Honestly, I was enjoying it so much, I was finding it hard to pull myself away to complete my assignments for school! When I wasn’t in front of my computer, I couldn’t stop talking about game design, interaction in games, and gaming effects.
I loved my virtual one-on-ones with mentors and industry pros, who could help me think through my ideas and improve them, or give me some extra support on topics I was struggling with. The fact that the instructors have different specialties was also really helpful so that students could learn more about the aspects of game design that were most interesting to them. The small class size of 15 people also meant that I really got to know the other students well.
After the 6 week course, I had the beginnings of a game that I was really proud of, and the tools and methods to complete it. I was also convinced that I wanted to shift my focus in school to engineering and try to work in the gaming industry. When I discussed it with my parents, they were so impressed that I had taken the initiative to pay for the class myself, that they supported my decision to switch majors (but recommended that I still minor in business. Sigh.) After taking the Endless Studios Youth Game Design course, I feel confident that I’ve found something I’m super passionate about and I have a good foundation to continue learning and growing my skills. For anyone interested in learning more about building and designing video games, this course is a must-try.