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Subject: Where can I really go in life with this hobby? rss

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Garcian Smith
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So I'm at UCLA at the moment and I think to myself, aren't people taking classes that inspire them and ultimately contribute to the futures that they desire?

I love games, loved games and probably will play games all the time. I think I'm at the point where few things interest me. I am taking several classes for my major, but I am hardly interested.

I suppose the most obvious answer would be to do something with gaming such as becoming a game designer or such, but I was wondering if there were other alternatives.

To which majors would a mind that enjoys strategic decisions go? Where can I take this mind of gaming to?
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Josh Harrelson
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I believe that games, in general, promote problem solving and critical thinking skills. These are skills that are needed for any major or career. More specifically, many games have a lot of math behind them and the strategies. That may mean that you should pursue some sort of math degree. Many games have a puzzle aspect to them. I think this goes along with engineering. Many games are economic based and about building up a successful city/home/civ. This goes along with a busines major. Some games are more for spatial visual people which can fit into many categories but may fit well into an art major. There are many games that look at history (especially war games). If you enjoy trying different strategies to see which one works the best than maybe education is for you. Being a teacher requires you to try many different teaching strategies to see which one works the best for that particular student. Well, I probably reached on a lot of these. I think that I love for games can relate to any major mostly
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Kent Reuber
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Revelade wrote:
So I'm at UCLA at the moment and I think to myself, aren't people taking classes that inspire them and ultimately contribute to the futures that they desire?

I love games, loved games and probably will play games all the time. I think I'm at the point where few things interest me. I am taking several classes for my major, but I am hardly interested.

I suppose the most obvious answer would be to do something with gaming such as becoming a game designer or such, but I was wondering if there were other alternatives.

To which majors would a mind that enjoys strategic decisions go? Where can I take this mind of gaming to?


Speaking as someone who started college as a music major and ended up with a math and physics major, I understand that there are times (sophomore year seems to be especially bad) when you question what you want to do and have to decide where you want to be. In fact, I later ended up doing networking for a major university and haven't done any serious math/physics in almost 2 decades. I still enjoy music though. Because I make money in another career, I can afford to play as an amateur where and when I feel like it and don't have to worry about playing with half a dozen ensembles all over the area to make a living. (See the documentary called the "Freeway Philharmonic". *shudder*)

Very few people make a living as game designers. There might be good living working for game companies doing IT or business work where you could periodically test games. IMO, it's best to pursue a real career that you can tolerate that brings in some money. Otherwise you won't have money to buy games.

Talk to your college counsellor or your advisor, and do a lot of naval gazing to determine who you are and what you'd be happy doing. Keep in mind that this may change radically with time, and you want to keep your options open.

Good luck.
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Linda Baldwin
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And let me add, don't be afraid to take a few left turns.

I started college as a Music Ed major, switched briefly to Practical Theology (there's a major for you!), and wound up a Drama major (although I'd no experience in theatre pre-college.) Worked as a substitute teacher, among other things, to support my (mostly non-paying) theatre gigs, moved to NYC where I worked in fast food, phone sales, and phone interviewing to support my (still non-paying) theatre gigs. So of course I'm now ... a computer programmer! (I was lucky enough to be trained OTJ, almost impossible these days.)

Just keep your eyes open and roll with it. I seem to recall a nice gentleman who retired early from whatever his career was (I think I once knew, but can't remember now), went to work for a game company, left there and formed his own company, and started importing and publishing Euros. Didn't do too badly, either. (Thanks, Jay! My game closet loves you.)
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Gerald McDaniel
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Those are excellent answers. Give them some thought.

I began college with one major and dropped it at the end of the first semester. I then took a battery of "interest" tests through the college guidance office. The results indicated that my interests were so varied that the counselors could not recommend any specific areas of study for a major. I took general courses for another semester and selected a new major, based on how much I enjoyed one particular class. In my junior year, I switched to another major, and before I graduated, I picked up the previous major, for a double major. I graduated with a degree in science and one in the arts. I spent my entire career in human resources and automated systems work. I have a good retirement and can afford to buy games and love to play them with my three-generation family game group.

Sometimes, it's not required to have a degree in a field you expect to spend the rest of your life working at. Sometimes, it's more important to make good decisions about your opportunities after you graduate, work hard, make a good impression, get results from your efforts, and be willing to make a few sacrifices to open more possibilities.

Best of luck and good fortune to you.
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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Manufacturing and selling things is the hard part. Maybe you could think in broad terms about how to start and run a business, and then apply those skills to game publishing/distribution? Maybe start up doing reprints of classics?
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Chris Ferejohn
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A friend of mine (who is a member here, so who knows he may respond) is a professor specializing in social gaming networks. A little more video-game focused (specifically World of Warcraft amounts to the greatest found experiment ever for him), but he definitely loves games of all kinds and draws on them.
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jbrier
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I feel the same way as the original poster! I actually graduated college a couple years ago with a double major in math and philosophy, worked less than a year for a pension fund (which I hated), and now have been unemployed for over two years. Right now I'm planning to apply to grad school for next year but I'm still stuck on the decision of what programs I want to apply to.

Right now my whole life revolves around gaming, and the weekends + occasional weeknight when I get to play them, and I find that my enthusiasm for gaming has actually hampered my ability to become truly motivated to find a career job, since I haven't discovered one that engages me nearly as much as gaming does. (I do also spend my time reading philosophy but that's even more difficult to relate to a real world job than gaming! laugh )

I wish I could find a career that allowed me to channel all the enthusiasm I have for playing games to an actual job. I understand that work is work and isn't always supposed to be fun, especially at the lower rungs of the corporate ladder, but I wish that a job/career could engage me at least on some level the same way gaming does.

Most recently I was looking at Urban Planning as a possible candidate, but upon further investigation I'm having misgivings that it's more about politics and less about actually "planning" or analyzing anything.

I'll second the OP's request - please help! cry






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Hawaka Winada
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Have you considered Computer Science? The analytical thinking and problem solving skills developed by gamers are exactly the skills required for CS. Many of the gamers I know program for a living. And my personal interest in programming and subsequent succesful programming career was triggered by my gaming hobby, specifically to learn how to automate the tedious combat calculations in the Seapower II naval miniatures game (this was back in the 70's before calculators were cheap, and my boss would let me take home the company HP-85 computer whenever I wanted).

And whatever career you do choose, make sure that it is FUN. A lower-paying job that makes you happy is far better than a higher-paying job that stresses you out.
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E Butler
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Revelade wrote:

To which majors would a mind that enjoys strategic decisions go? Where can I take this mind of gaming to?



Take your mind to a good paying career that you enjoy. Join a game club or get a group of game friends and use your games to R E L A X.
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Barry Roy
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two words - law school
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Patiently waiting for the zombie apocalypse...
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You can "go" broke....
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Michelle Zentis
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D-Rider wrote:
Have you considered Computer Science? The analytical thinking and problem solving skills developed by gamers are exactly the skills required for CS. Many of the gamers I know program for a living.


That's what I was going to suggest. As Ken points out, there's a big overlap between programming and gaming skill sets. In addition, CS is a HUGE field with a market that's not going away any time soon, and CS is geographically portable. As an added bonus, many large IT firms treat their employees generously and encourage them to move around within the organization, so you're less likely to get stuck somewhere you're not happy without any means of escape.

And if you get really lucky, you end up in the Microsoft Xbox department in charge of porting over boardgames! That's my #2 dream job, right after undercover Club Med customer service quality control inspector.

Of course, as others have pointed out, degrees don't have to match jobs. I started college as a German major, switched to Russian sophomore year, and after a few unhappy years in the government Russian-language world jumped over to IT during the dotcom bubble. I got to travel around the world doing installs, training, and migrations for the US State Department for the better part of a decade. Finally, when looking at my suitcase made me want to cry, I hopped on over to Microsoft (EDIT: NOT the Xbox department -- yet).

Good luck!
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John Bobek
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There's a lot of good advice already given so I won't repeat it. I'm very fortunate to have the job I wanted (teaching). If ever a creative mind is needed, it's in teaching. Some of the games I created, I used in the classroom as history "labs." But if teaching isn't your bent, look to what interests you. If history and personal interaction is your forte, you might consider the diplomatic corps.
One problem you may be experiencing is that college professors aren't always good teachers, though they may be excellent in their fields. If you take any education courses, you can almost bet that your professor would be suicidal and/or homicidal after a month of real teaching in an ordinary school. Look beyond their presentations and bs (there's an untapped fuel source!) and focus on the applications of what they taught. Who seems to really enjoy what they do? Hang with them to see why. That may help more than anything. Good luck!
 
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Frank Zinzi
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Be Creative! See where games could possibly fit in different aspects of your career as an alternative to seeking to find a career in gaming. I am a passionate gamer who has found ways to mix this passion with my others, particularly where it relates to my career. I am a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in working with children, adolescents and young adults. Knowledge and interest in gaming helped keep me "current" and fresh in my interactions with my clients. When I saw how much utilizing rpg's , ccg's and board/tile games in sessions were helping kids, I created and directed therapeutic recreation program within my agency that lasted 3 years, and only ended because I left the agency. Even now, working for another agency within a school setting I have had an extremely active therapeutic gaming club for the past three years. Make your own job within a job that can grow into something else! Good luck!
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Kyle Dutton
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:: Read This ::
 
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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Directly inside of the board gaming industry? That's very difficult. A thread from earlier this week cited board gaming as a 'doomed' industry. One of the reasons that the board gaming 'industry' is difficult to make it in is that there are so many small, hobby businesses around it. It's great for making a grass roots push, but it's not very sustainable as a business model.

But I like the advice that people have given. Gaming often corresponds with computer science. I knew I was a gamer before I relented to being a computer scientist. But that's not the end all. Try to find something that has the same elements of gaming that you enjoy and then get to it.
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Bill Eldard
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Revelade wrote:
. . .To which majors would a mind that enjoys strategic decisions go? Where can I take this mind of gaming to?


Take some time off from college until you have an idea of what you want to major in. Travel if you can. Get some life experience. Learn more about yourself without the added pressure of term papers and final exams.

I've worked with many folks who have never used their college degree specialty in the work force because before graduating or shortly thereafter, they realized they didn't like their major afterall.

Life isn't a race. Take it in.
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Goo
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From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Reiner Knizia... has a PhD in mathematics, and has been a full-time game designer since 1997, when he quit his former job as a quantitative analyst ("quant").


Think Chaos Theory Mathematics or Game Theory which you would probably find in the Sociology department.

Go Bruins!
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Scott Nicholson
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While it's been a strange path from there to here, in the 20 years since I started my undergraduate, I have made a path...

- Love boardgames like Talisman, Dungeonquest, and Cosmic Encounter
- Undergrad in Math and Computers
- Worked as computer support person
- Masters in Library and Information Science
- Worked as librarian
- Ph.D. in Information Science
- Worked as Statistician
- Worked as Professor
- Started board game instructional video series
- Got Tenure
- Noted Libraries and Games were coming together, but mainly around video games
- Decided to make a difference, change research paths, and do research on games and libraries
- Learn that I was pretty much the only LIS professor on this path. Get funded to have Library Game Lab of Syracuse.
- Spend grant money doing research on games while enjoying salary from non-gaming career.

(Note that games didn't enter into career until year 19; I established myself in another field, gained credibility, and then brought in games appropriately.)

Oh, just like I planned when I was in school.


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Neil
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There is also something to be said for having a hobby that is completely unrelated to your work life. No matter what job you do, you will always have board games to turn to in your free time. That kind of distance can be very useful and it can promote balance in your life.

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andrew
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game designers are a dime a dozen.. but a good game artist is a much rearer thing.. if i could choose i'd be an artist over a designer. doris rocks!!!
 
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Keith Meyers
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If you are not tied to UCLA, just down the road from you is Otis College of Art & Design and they have a 4-year degree in Toys (which includes games). A lot of their graduates get placed at Mattel and Electronic Arts.

I wish they had that program when I was going to college. I studied Film and ended up by sheer luck in the game industry. But it takes so long to make any money in games that it's best to have a day job that allows you to design games/play games in your extra time.

Our area has a huge gaming community and I find most of those gamers are engineer or computer science geeks.
 
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Les Marshall
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Gelatinous Goo wrote:
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
Reiner Knizia... has a PhD in mathematics, and has been a full-time game designer since 1997, when he quit his former job as a quantitative analyst ("quant").


Think Chaos Theory Mathematics or Game Theory which you would probably find in the Sociology department.

Go Bruins!


There is a game theory course at Cal Tech and may well be one at your university (as a Trojan alum, I just can't type it). Game theory is actually a very hot field with applications in business, diplomacy and military strategy. I attended a legal seminar a few years ago which caused me to conclude that there is a slow turn away from zero sum thinking in negotiations that I attribute to the insights gained in game theory development. Its a hard right turn from actual gaming but a good game designer could make much from it, especially in educational gamining simulations.
 
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Tony Chen
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Let me guess, you are in engineering?

To answer your question, math.
 
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