USC Interactive Media & Games Division
The University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts's Interactive Media & Games Division first accepted M.F.A. students in 2002. The division currently offers both undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (M.F.A.) programs in interactive media and game design. The programs include courses in game design, development, audio, animation, and user research as well as experimental work in gestural and immersive interfaces, transmedia design, and interactive cinema.
In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017, USC was named as the number-one design program for games in North America by the Princeton Review.
Major funders of the USC IMGD include Microsoft and Electronic Arts, both of which companies have endowed faculty positions in the program. Game industry executive Bing Gordon was the first holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment, which is currently held by game designer Tracy Fullerton. The Microsoft Endowed Professorship is held by user research pioneer Dennis Wixon.
In 2012, the school announced plans for a new building to house the Interactive Media program and associated research labs, including the Game Innovation Lab. In early 2013, Tracy Fullerton, the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair of Interactive Media, announced that the division, formerly known as the Interactive Media Division, was renamed the Interactive Media & Games Division to "honor the groundbreaking work in games that our faculty and students have produced in the decade since our division was formed."
In 2013, alumni Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, founders of thatgamecompany were honored with multiple awards for Game of the Year, Game Direction, Innovation, and Game Design for their game Journey (2012).
- Cloud - an experimental computer game from 2005, funded in part by a grant from Electronic Arts.
- Darfur is Dying
- PMOG - A vast social meta-game that can be played by completing missions on the Web.
- Reality Ends Here - A pervasive game experience for incoming School of Cinematic Arts freshmen.
- Outer Wilds
- Chambara - award-winning stealth-action multiplayer game
- Walden, a game - award-winning game about Henry David Thoreau
Faculty & Staff
Currently, the division is chaired by Danny Bilson, a game producer, writer and former executive. Full-time faculty and staff include Tracy Fullerton, Mark Bolas, Richard Lemarchand, Dennis Wixon, Peter Brinson, Marientina Gotsis, Andreas Kratky, Jeff Watson, Jane Pinckard, Sam Roberts, Sean Bouchard, Jesse Vigil, Martzi Campos, Todd Furmanski, Lucas Peterson and Timothy Lee. Adjunct Faculty include Laird Malamed, Gordon Bellamy, Carl Schnurr, Heather Desurvire, Vincent Diamante, Chevon Hicks, Robert Nashak, and Scott Rogers.
Former faculty and staff include Scott Fisher - founding chair of the division, Jen Stein, Steve Anderson, Anne Balsamo, Chris Swain, Peggy Weil, Jeremy Gibson, Julian Bleecker, Michael Lew, Erik Loyer, Michael Naimark, Eddo Stern, Perry Hoberman, William Huber, Mark Essen, Akira Thompson, Michael Kontopolous, Joseph Olin, and Kurosh ValaNejad.
Notable alumni have include the founders of thatgamecompany, including Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago. Also, Justin Hall, Matt Korba and Paul Bellezza of The Odd Gentlemen, Asher Vollmer (Threes!), Sean Plott (Day9), Adam Sulzdorf-Liszkiewicz (RUST LTD), and Elle Schneider (developer of the Digital Bolex) attended the program.
- Degrees Information at USC SCA site Archived 2012-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, Cinema.usc.edu/interactive
- Top Video Game Design Press Release, Princeton Review, March 11, 2014
- Microsoft Endows Gaming Initiative at USC, The Wrap, October 19, 2010
- Electronic Arts endows chair at USC's School of Cinema-Television for interactive gaming studies, CNN Money, Feb 8, 2005
- Fullerton Installed as Endowed Professor Archived 2012-10-12 at the Wayback Machine, USC news, Dec. 17, 2008
- Wixon installed as Microsoft Endowed Professor at SCA, USC news, Sept. 25, 2012
- New building to house interactive media, Daily Trojan, April 4, 2012
- Tracy Fullerton's Blog Post, IMGD Website, March 7, 2013
- 13th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards
- Interactive Media Division Weblog
- USC Games homepage
- Official Academic Information About the Division
- Game Innovation Lab