MFA, Game Design '20
- Why did you choose SCA? What are you studying?
I’m studying Game Design! I chose SCA because I spent a few years after finishing Undergrad out in the world, figuring out what I wanted to do with myself, and after landing a QA job at a AAA company I ultimately figured out that the games industry was where I wanted to be. I’ve always been more on the creative side of things (I have a BA in English with a concentration in Creative Writing) so in order to succeed I would need to develop my technical skills along with a designer’s eye—and, looking into various schools, SCA was really perfect for honing both of those things. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s located in LA, which is an amazing city and also conveniently near some of the best game studios in the world!
- What has been your biggest challenge(s) so far in your time here?
My biggest challenge has been learning my own boundaries—how to balance work and self-care, and maybe moreso how to lead other people on my teams by example in taking care of themselves, too. It’s easy to conflate OVERwork and “hard” work but they’re different things!
- Is there a project you are working (or have completed) that you're especially proud of?
I can’t talk much about it yet since we’ll be doing a formal unveiling at the start of next year, but I’m really proud of my MFA Thesis project that I’m working on right now! I’ve always wanted to direct a big team, and now I’m getting a chance to work with a fantastically talented group of folks and to see my creative vision get realized from start to finish. It’s pretty magical.
- Any advice for prospective students who would like to study in your division?
Don’t be intimidated! Game development can seem forbidding to people looking at it from the outside, but now more than ever we need those outside perspectives. Even if you’ve never coded or never made prototypes or have never written a design doc, I’ve seen classmates go from knowing none of those things to making some incredible games. Everyone is here to help and teach and support you in learning how to make the things you want to make.
- Is there anything outside of your coursework –– an internship/project that you've been involved with? How did your work at SCA prepare you for it?
I’ve actually never gotten an internship, but perhaps even more valuably, I did do a summer of contract work for a big studio in LA where I wrote test plans for a AAA game! I really felt the difference between when I came into QA not knowing anything about game development, to now being able to understand and engage with the development process in all aspects, and in a professional context. It felt amazing!
Brooke Jaffe is an Interactive Media and Game Design MFA candidate from Menlo Park, CA.