Although there are a ton of jobs available in the video game industry, they tend to be the computer science equivalent of the Southeast Asian sweatshop. Game developers work extremely long hours, under tight deadlines, and for comparatively little money. Still, there's a movie star sort of status associated with working on a popular game, which is why video game camps are sprouting up around the country for aspiring game slaves.

While some 12-year-olds spend the summer playing video games, Alex Sanford learned how to create them.

Alex, who's a student at Dana Middle School in Hawthorne, was one of a handful of South Bay kids who participated in the two-week video game design camp at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

"I want to be a movie director," Alex said Friday, the last day at camp. "Some of this stuff helps to figure out special effects."

Most of the students had no programming experience before the camp, said course instructor Jacob Thompson, who is a USC undergraduate majoring in interactive entertainment.

"They've really grown in knowledge of programming," Thompson said. "And actually having to finish a project by a deadline is impressive by any standard."

Well, as opposed to "having to", actually finishing a project by a deadline is impressive.

Even my little brother is in on the action.

Andy Kaneda, 11, has plans to become a video game designer and wants to learn more about the industry. The incoming Dana Middle School student, the youngest in the program, has been playing video games since he was 7.

I can attest to that!



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