Designing a Future in Gaming

December 15, 2017

Charlie Craft poses for a photograph.Charlie Craft ’18 has always loved gaming, and Whittier College turned that passion into a major.

In high school, some of Craft’s teachers discouraged gaming. He tried to keep the spark alive on his college tours, asking every college and university if they offered game design as a major. But few did. He never stopped playing, but over time, he stopped talking about what he was interested in. By the time Craft walked across the stage to accept his high school diploma, game design had left his mind as a possibility.

Then Whittier College happened.

In his first class, microeconomics, Craft’s professor described ideas that he already knew from gaming, but didn’t have a formal name for, such as supply and demand. Throughout the semester, his professor encouraged him to use gaming as a way to talk about economics in his papers.

“Whittier College was the first to not dismiss my interest, but to ask, ‘What can you do with your interest?’” Craft said.

He initially thought he would major in economics, until he realized that Whittier offered him another option, a way to hone his focus on his original goal: a game design major that—fittingly—he would design himself, thanks to the Whittier Scholars Program.

The program allowed him to mix a wide range of coursework, including English, art, psychology, and computer coding. Craft will now have a bachelor’s degree in Game Design and Media Production, with a minor in economics, when he graduates this May.

“It was just so cool to be able to explore what I love,” said Craft, who’s in the midst of an in-depth paper about developer practices, including microtransactions, downloadable content, and pre-ordering.

WSP Director and Professor of English Andrea Rehn has been impressed with Craft’s dedication to his major.

“He’s a joy to have in class,” said Rehn, who added that Craft is always looking for avenues to develop his passion.

He found a research opportunity with a professor, investigating video game history and recreating early computer programs. The research culminated in a paper analyzing gaming’s evolution and the experience of exploring its past.

Craft hopes to become a game journalist or reviewer before ultimately working for one of his dream companies, Riot Games (the developers of the worldwide hit League of Legends) or gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment. As a matter of fact, both companies employ Whittier College alumni. Craft hopes he could be counted among them, some day.