Occupations Available in the Video Game Industry
Video Game Designers
If you are the video game designer, you’re the one taking the lead. Designers are the people who dream up the storyline and plot of the game. The Minnesota average salary of a video game designer runs from about $50k to over $100k per year
Video Game Programmers
There are many different programming specialties involved in the production of a video game. Graphics, artificial intelligence, and the application of physics are only a few of the types of specialties for programmers that help bring a concept to reality. A deep knowledge of C or C++ programming languages is required. Other languages used are Perl, Assembly and Lua. On the average, video game programmers make around $77k for recent college graduates to more than $125k for those with more than six years of experience.
Video Game Narrators
English and writing graduates are the types desired for the job of video game narrator. As well as a degree, those wishing to become a narrator can get their foot in the door by using their skills to write articles for video game magazines, interviews of industry leaders, or game guides. Experience with graphics is also a plus. The average salary is around $65k.
Video Game Artists
Artists take the storyboard ideas from the game’s designers and make them a fully realized world populated by interesting characters and landscapes. Animators need experience in 3D programs such as ZBrush or Autodesk Maya. In 2011, animators and artists made an average salary of more than $70k, according to Game Developer Magazine.
If you are interested in a career in the video game industry, read “Work for Play, careers in video game development,” produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for an in-depth overview of the field and its requirements. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2011/fall/art01.pdf
Video Game Education Available in Minnesota
- Full Sail University – Full Sail offers courses in Game Design and other related careers. With more than a decade of experience in the industry, Full Sail delivers a highly specialized education that blends the art, technology, and storytelling needed to create a successful game.
- DeVry University – DeVry University offers programming and design courses with a specialized degree in Multimedia Design and Development in Web Game Programming. Coursework includes Game Development, Interactive Web Page Scripting, Multiplayer Online Game Development, Programming Multimedia for the Web and more.
- Sanford Brown College – Sanford Brown College in Mendota Heights, MN offers a Bachelor of Arts in Video Game Design. More than 100 students graduated with a video game design degree from Brown College in 2009, which was 66 percent of the total in the state. Tuition at the private, bible-based school was $17,716 per year in 2010.
- Northwestern College – Northwestern College in Saint Paul, MN offers a Digital Media Arts multidisciplinary major from both the Department of Art & Design and Department of Communication. This degree program was developed with the help of the film industry and animators from PIXAR. Students are educated in computer animation, 3D media, design, visual arts, storytelling, and communication.
- Globe University/Minnesota School of Business – Globe University/Minnesota School of Business in Edina, MN offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Video and Media Production. The course in digital video and media production concentrates on digital film production, but includes graphics animation studies. Notably, the college caps tuition at 16 credit hours, so if you accelerate your program, all the hours accrued beyond 16 are free.
- The Arts Institutes International of Minnesota – The Arts Institutes International in Minneapolis, MN offers a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation. The Arts and Animation program takes a student from classes in traditional two-dimension art to the latest in 3D animation. This program is for those who wish to become video game artists and animators. Tuition for the four-year private college was $22,553 in the 2009-2010 school year. Financial aid is available.
Places to Intern
- Battery Powered Games – Battery Powered Games provides mobile apps and games development. The company was formed in April of 2009 and is currently focused on mobile app and high-performance cross-platform mobile game development, particularly for Android and iOS.
- Big John Games – Big John Games is independently owned with its video game development studio located in Edina, Minnesota. It has a talented team of game designers, engineers, artists, and animators who create games for all audiences. Over the years, the Big John Games has partnered with leaders in the game publishing industry to create many video entertainment products. Big John Games is also an authorized developer for the Nintendo DS™ and Wii™ systems.
- Concrete Software – This company is developer of free mobiles games and is perhaps best known for its PBA Bowling Challenge game.
- King Show Games – Since 1998, King Show Games has created and developed games for casino play worldwide. KSG has created several big hits like Lucky Larry’s Lobstermania and $tinkin’ Rich. Its team of artists, engineers, and mathematicians has designed over 100 games and has licensed titles for countries all over the world. They claim to always be seeking new talent.
- Monster Games – Monster Games was founded in Northfield, Minnesota, in 1996. Over the years they shipped numerous games. They claim to have a fun workplace in which workers are encouraged to have fun while producing quality work. Employment opportunities are available at this time. In 2013 they released Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.
- North Star Gaming – North Star is a maker of free party and strategy games with titles such as Say Anything and Wits and Wagers.