Oklahoma City Community College Students Take Video Games Seriously

Article excerpt

Video games can no longer be considered a threat to educational advancement.

Oklahoma City Community College soon will graduate its first class of students who have earned degrees in video game design. While some may land jobs in the gaming industry, others could find their niche with architectural firms, training companies or education organizations.

That's good news to generations of students whose familiarity with video games will only grow.

"They are very creative," said Akram Taghavi-Burris, professor of computer-aided technology at OCCC and program director of CAT Digital Media Options. "We focus on the design side as opposed to the programming side of games. When our students first enter the program, even though their assignments are to go out and play games, they actually have to analyze the games and write down the reasons they're fun to play. This tends to separate the game players from the game designers."

The computer-aided technology department at OCCC is celebrating National Game Day Saturday with speakers in the gaming industry and two game tournaments that raise money for Child's Play, which provides video games for children in hospitals. Activities begin at 10 a.m. in Room 407 of the Keith Leftwich Memorial Library at OCCC, 7777 S. May Ave. General admission is free, and there's a minimal charge for the tournaments.

In the spring, OCCC will graduate five students with video game design degrees, Taghavi-Burris said. They will have an emphasis in three areas - multimedia (similar to graphic design), game design and computer-aided design, which began this fall.

No matter their focus, students first must produce a paper or board version of their game ideas and provide an analysis of why they're fun to play. …

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