Newswise — Video games represent one of the largest and fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world. Beyond games, today’s interactive technology also helps shape how young people learn, drives national defense strategies via computer simulations, and assists training efforts in biomedicine, physical fitness, anti-terrorism, and much more.
The highly regarded Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a leader in games studies and rankings released recently by Animation Career Review attest to that: The program was ranked No. 9 nationally on the list of top game design programs in the United States and No. 7 nationally among schools offering a bachelor of science degree in game design.
Among East Coast colleges and universities, Rensselaer is ranked at No. 4; on the list for private schools and colleges, Rensselaer is ranked No. 7; and among programs offered in New York state, No. 3.
The university has produced a host of successful game creators and studies, including Capital Region-based studios founded by Rensselaer alumni, including Vicarious Visions, 1st Playable Productions, Velan Studios, and Agora Games.
Two recent GSAS graduates, Ben Caulkins and Sam Suite, founded a video game company that was named a finalist in the college game competition at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles last week. The company, called Dang!, has developed several video games, including IO Interloper, a “corporate espionage hacking game” that was recognized in March when it was also an awards finalist at the Independent Games Festival in San Francisco.
The GSAS program was established at Rensselaer in 2007. Students in the program gain an understanding of games from the broadest range of possible perspectives, studying fields as diverse as electronic arts, artificial intelligence and cognitive science, digital graphics, software development, psychology, and human-computer interaction, and computer graphics in communication and the arts.
Rensselaer also offers a Ph.D. in Electronic Arts, offered through the Department of Arts, which allows students to explore areas of interest ranging from gaming and animation to communication technologies.
In 2016, the Empire State Development announced three new Digital Gaming Hubs in New York state, located at Rensselaer, New York University, and Rochester Institute of Technology. The Digital Gaming Hubs are encouraging students and businesses to create new innovative technologies.
“Rensselaer is a uniquely rich environment for games studies, and our GSAS degree program provides an undergraduate experience like few others available anywhere in the country,” said Mary Simoni, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), which houses GSAS. “Our program draws on RPI’s Computer Science, Cognitive Science, Arts, Communication and Media, and Science and Technology Studies departments—a combination of resources few other games programs can even claim, let alone match. GSAS emphasizes a deep theoretical foundation along with collaborative, interdisciplinary teamwork, which is how games are actually created. This equal emphasis on theory and practice means that students graduate fully prepared to work in the games industry, and the program enjoys a considerable success rate in post-graduate employment.”
To read the Animation Career Review rankings, go to
About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 85 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as 6 National Medal of Technology winners, 5 National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. To learn more, go to www.rpi.edu.
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