When you first came to PC Gaming Academy, you may have wondered, “Why ‘gaming’? His goal is to teach IT skills, why tie it into video games?”
In short, video games encompass many of the skills needed to succeed in the IT industry. Here are just a few areas where increased knowledge can give your student a leg up.
- History – Video game history is computer history. From the very earliest days of computers, programmers sought ways to use them to play games. In the documentary “Atari: Game Over”, Atari programmer Howard Scott Warshaw said, “Microprocessor realtime control programming is just where it’s at. So there are 2 kinds of things you can typically do with that in the early 1980s. You can do missile guidance systems, or like we say, kill people for 12c a head or you can make video games, which I thought was a much better application for the whole thing.” Understanding the history of video games will help your student understand how computers have evolved to their current state.
- Technology – Video games have been the driving force in technological advances since the beginning. In 1974, Atari released the Pong Home machine, which, at the time, contained the highest-performing chip in a consumer product. Video games have been the driving force behind advances in 3D rendering, computer lighting, and artificial intelligence. Even today video games are on the leading edge of augmented and virtual reality, two areas that have far reaching implications.
- Breadth of Knowledge – Creating video games requires a breadth of knowledge. A single game can include graphics manipulation, collision detection, path-finding, artificial intelligence, physics, lighting, randomness, a user interface, networking, level design, and more. Developing a game requires your student to know not just programming but also project management, user testing and debugging, and how to get their ideas out of their head and into something real. All of these skills will serve them no matter what industry they ultimately choose.
- Video Games are fun – To be frank, programming in the real world can be boring. The systems that run a lot of companies out there are not sexy. Accounting software, inventory management, and Human Resources are not normally things kids dream about as they are growing up. But they are things that are vitally important and need to be done well. By starting with video games, something they do dream about creating, I hope to give your students a love for programming that will drive them to create the best software possible no matter what software creation pays the bills.