Women outnumber men by nearly 2-to-1 in USC's video game design graduate program


#1

[Read the post]


#2

What are we going to do about this shameful gender imbalance? We need to encourage boys at an early age that it’s OK for them to get into video game design.


#3

A wonderful thing, indeed!


#4

program has 12 women and seven men

I’m not trying to downplay diversity or anything like that, but playing with statistics where such small numbers are concerned seems specious. I might also ask what alumni of said graduate video game design program have done to warrant such a high opinion from the Princeton Review.


#6

Pffft. They can still be passive consumers without having to study a thing!


#7

It’s good that they’re making the games they want to see. I only hope that these students realize that games are an interactive medium: you should allow the player to tell their own story, within the framework and with the tools that you provide them.

A big problem some indie games are encountering is exactly this, that they’re so linear that they’re on rails. As fun as that can be, a big part of the magic games have can sometimes be from how each play through and each story told and each action taken differs.

I worry when people focus very hard on the details (e.g. how does the main character look?) where player expression and game mechanics that engender it (e.g. you can choose to be strong or fast or some of both!) should be at the core of a game.

Perhaps it’s just the article that focuses on the details, assuming we know the rest of the picture. I’m not particularly worried about this group as they seem to be in good hands.

Hopefully that didn’t come off as dismissive, because making games is tough and it’s great that this group is doing so.


#8

I am reminded of this odd old article:

On that note, what happened to the Offworld posts? There hasn’t been one on Boingboing for a while now.


#9

Got absolutely nothing to do with being indie or not. Whether we’re talking big-name billion dollar productions or tiny basement hobby projects, some games are super linear, others are very open. If anything, I’ve seen more open-world or widely-divergent story games in the indie scene than in big-budget games.


#10

As a casual game dev, it depends on what you’re going for. I do agree that it’s a stretch to call some games games, but that’s where (to steal the term I heard on Extra Credits) Interactive Experience comes in, although I really hope we have a better name for it at some point. If you want to tell your story and there’s not much wiggle room in there, some people may still appreciate the story, and maybe games are the best medium for that.


#11

Their website has an alumni page, though not comprehensive. However the industry is kind of small in terms of numbers of designers, and the most reputable game schools do get most of their graduates into the industry, so it might only be a harbinger but calling it specious may also be too harsh. At the end of the day, broad demographics coming in at the junior level helps no-matter what else is or isn’t happening elsewhere.


#12

Soon, basements across the country will erupt in rage and Mountain Dew at all the girly games. Gamergate, we hardly knew ye.


#13

It’ll be interesting to see how this is reflected in hiring - I notice more women applying for games jobs and not getting them, as the men doing the hiring are seeking people like themselves - i.e. other guys. I also wonder if this small sample size represents the gender balance in academic programs more broadly - I rather suspect it doesn’t, at least on the undergrad level, as grad students represent a) people who sought more education because they couldn’t find employment and/or b) were just interested in the academic issues, something that doesn’t get a lot of respect in the game industry, in my experience.

I’ve been wondering that myself. I wasn’t sure if it disappeared or if, with the current site design, they were getting pushed off the front page (or two) within a couple hours of posting, something that seems to happen now.


#14

Not sure a sample size as small as this warrants such a hyperbolic title. But still, it’s nice to see more women in the field.


#15

[quote=“Archvillain, post:11, topic:72724”]Their website has an alumni page, though not comprehensive. However the industry is kind of small in terms of numbers of designers, and the most reputable game schools do get most of their graduates into the industry, so it might only be a harbinger but calling it specious may also be too harsh.[/quote]The way I see it, it may be feasible to get a graduate “into the industry”, but getting a graduate into a position where they can actually make some of the lofty design decisions outlined in the article – as opposed to another code-monkey position of the sort popularized by ea_spouse – is practically like winning the lottery. It seems to me that if that is one’s goal, one would be better off going it alone rather than sticking it through some expensive graduate program.


#16

If someone graduates from a game design program, I don’t even know if they’d be qualified for a code monkey position. If your job is actually doing game design, then you do have some creative input - you will be shaping the game. If you join a larger company, it’ll take significant time and luck before you’re a design lead, but even in a junior position, you can make a difference both in your own work and in conversations with your co-workers

ETA: I agree, though, that if you just want to make a game to express your vision (and not necessarily have game making as your primary income in the near future), there are a lot cheap or free ways to pursue that


#17

[quote=“Jorpho, post:15, topic:72724, full:true”]The way I see it, it may be feasible to get a graduate “into the industry”, but getting a graduate into a position where they can actually make some of the lofty design decisions outlined in the article – as opposed to another code-monkey position of the sort popularized by ea_spouse – is practically like winning the lottery.
[/quote]

I don’t really agree. You’re absolutely right that miracles are not going to happen overnight, but pretty much all senior designers and design leads start out as junior designers. Even the idea that there is someone who makes the lofty design decisions is often a marketing myth anyway at AAA-scale production. And the truly lofty design decisions (what kind of game product it is to be) isn’t even up to designers (that’ll be business interests), but designers are still an important part of the big picture.
Even junior designers - a lot of unintentional crappy stuff happens simply because many teams can’t get enough feedback and perspectives on things super early enough and rapidly enough to head off something before a bunch of dependencies form, locking it in. Everyone on the team wants to make a game that people will get sucked into and love and remember forever, they don’t intend to alienate people who could be having a blast and becoming fans instead, but on large productions so much stuff is happening simultaneously that while all the attention is distracted by this and that thing (the fire du jour), other things just get done the way they’re always been done, and often all it takes is for someone in the room to point out a problem for the team to jump onboard and make it better. We’ve each all only lived one life, so every person has significant blindspots no-matter who you are, but ideally the team will have much smaller blindspots.

Then you succeed in making something that a lot of people will love, only to see it get marketed in ways that alienate many of the people who would love the game… head->wall :slight_smile:


#18

This is great. I like the Escape the Room style puzzle with the furniture piece, and the one where the phone is being held and used like a magnifying glass. The video was nice in that I was able to show it to my 5 year old daughter as an example of the fun things she can learn to make too, if she wants. She liked the magnifying glass phone game as well.


#19

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