AT WORK Playing for Keeps MATTHEW NEBEL 11 Digital games are emerging as one of the major cultural forms of the 21st century and Rensselaers Games and Simulations Arts and Sciences GSAS is one of the top-ranked game design programs in the country. The degree prepares students for careers in the games industry and simulation research providing them with the technical skills and creativity to help shape this rapidly evolving field. Matthew Nebel 11 an avid gamer from age 4 chose Rensselaer because it offered this major. During his time on campus Nebel learned specific computer languages and principles of game design but most importantly he learned a team approach to his work. You have a year or two of program- ming on your own then you have to do group projects and figure out how that works Nebel says. On the game side I learned how the different roles fit together artist programmer designer and what notand how the finer points of programming for games function and how they differ from conventional programming. Fresh out of college Nebel landed a job as a quality assurance engineer with San Francisco-based game- maker Kixeye where he now works as a senior software engineer. I dont think Id be where I am now if I didnt go to RPI Nebel says. It gave me the skills that allowed me to jump right into a lead position in a small company. It helped me get on my feet its nice to be able to interact with developers and understand what theyre talking about and being able to go into code and fix it myself is neat. GameFestFoundedbyRensselaerin2004GameFestisyetanotheropportunityforHASSstudentstomakeconnectionswith theworkingworld.Thisregionalshowcaseofstudent-designedcomputergamesisaforumtodiscusscurrenttopicsintheworld ofgamedesignandsimulationandachanceforstudentstoconnectwithtopplayersintheindustry. Inadditiontoajuriedcompetitiontheeventintroducesstudentstophilosopherscomputerscientistsartistsandcognitive scientistswhoareconductingresearchingamedesigndevelopmentandproduction.GameFestoffersuniqueopportunitiesfor interdisciplinaryjuncturesandcooperationamongtheartsandculturalstudiessocialsciencescomputersciencesengineering andemergingtechnicalresearchininformationtechnology.