California State University, Northridge
There was never any doubt about where I would go to college. I grew up within bicycling distance of California State University, Northridge — or CSUN, as we called it — and it never occurred to me that I to go anywhere else. What I didn’t know is what I would major in.
I was very much a science fiction and fantasy fan growing up. I distinctly remember watching the first episode of Star Trek when it premiered in 1966, reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was twelve years old, and going to see 2001: A Space Odyssey with my friends on my birthday. Not only did I want to immerse myself in these worlds, I wanted to contribute to them as well. I would draw pictures of characters from Middle-Earth, write Star Trek stories, and film science fiction movies with a Super-8 camera. And so when I entered college, I wanted to study either art, writing, or filmmaking, but I couldn’t decide on which.
However, when I went to preregister for my classes, I saw the long line of people waiting in line at the Radio-Television-Film Department, I realized that not all of these people were going to find the jobs they wanted, and I decided to just pursue General Education courses until I found a more practical major to study.
I took class in Introduction to Computing just to fulfill my liberal arts requirements, but as I sat in the computer lab waiting print out my homework assignment on the shared printer, I began to type out a Star Trek game. It suddenly occurred to me that a computer could be a creative medium just as is an easel, typewriter, or movie camera. Mathematics could be used to create graphics, logic diagrams were one way to tell a branching story, and coding was essentially directing the computer. The next day I changed my major from Undecided to Computer Science.
The following year, my COBOL professor later took note of how I was using the college’s mainframe to print out images of the Starship Enterprise, and he offered me a job as a clerk in an Apple Computer store he owned, the second computer store ever to open up in the Los Angeles area. It was working in that store where I met the person who got me involved in game development.
Posted on November 21, 2011, in My Career and tagged CSUN, education, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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