I first became obsessed with video games when I was 11. I played Super Smash Bros. at a friend’s house one day after school and couldn’t get enough. I begged my parents for a gaming console, which they reluctantly bought for me, and I was officially hooked. All I wanted to do in my free time was play, and I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I reached a new stage. As I started thinking about college and what I wanted to study, I kept coming back to video games. Could I possibly make game development a career? I mean, other people were doing it, right?
I started looking into what I would need to study and learn in order 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. How would I even start? But 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. 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 my college applications.
I made a plea to my parents to let me take the 6 week course. They were supportive of my interest in video games, but I knew they wished I wasn’t glued to my computer all the time, so I wasn’t sure if they’d let me participate. But I outlined all the things that I would learn in the course and how those skills would help my college applications stand out and help me get into a better school (hopefully!). As I was telling them about how I’d learn engineering basics, build prototypes, and manage projects, I could see them glancing at each other out of the corner of their eye and I knew I was golden.
They let me enroll in the game design program, 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. 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. 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 14 people also meant that I got personal attention and became close with other students.
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’ve also stayed in touch with a number of my classmates and we continue giving each other feedback and working on our games. After taking the Endless Studios Youth Game Design course, I feel confident that I want to study engineering in college and try to work in the gaming field. And now 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 something you need to try.