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Old 03-09-2011, 12:36 PM   #1
Khrono
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Default Senmon Gakko; are Japanese Game Development Schools valuable in America?

Hello everyone, my name is Lorenzo and it is a pleasure for me to write in this forum. I'm an 18 italian guy who has a strong passion for Japan and videogames.
My dream is to work in Japan and make J-rpg: I'd like to do a lot of jobs in the industry, such as Game Planner, Level Designer, Quest Designer etc. I really enjoy writing storylines/lore and drawing dungeons/maps for pen&paper rpgs, novels( one of my most time-absorbing project right now it is one of them) and I'm willing to learn programming in order to use all that creativity into a concrete software project.

I think this thread will be about something many people wouldn't think of: I stored some information and, other than asking for an advice, I'll be glad to share my inforrmations with you about Japanese Game Education.
So if you have any questions about studying in Japan ask me and I'll try to help you.
This is an interesting blog of an american student being there.
http://designblog.theirisnetwork.org/hal-faq/

I'm leaving for Japan right after High School because I want to learn the language and the culture and then I'd like to attend a Senmon Gakko ( A sort of a Higher/ Para-University Vocational School) which has a 4 year course in Game Development.
I'm totally convinced to spend a year there to learn japanese, but I'm quite unsure about the qualification that a Senmon Gakko would give me for the industry.
I've talked with some people who got into the industry in Japan and they said HAL ( http://www.hal.ac.jp/lang/english.html ) it's one of the most important game schools in Japan. They said that inside that students actually work with Nintendo and Microsoft development kit, which is awesome! They got a lot of links with industry, such as prizes for Tokyo Games Show and internships into the software houses.
Everything seems great to me but...

Since that kind of school doesn't give a degree, I'm afraid that even if I have good skills and I know my stuff, I won't be hired in other countries only because I don't have a degree. That is the thing that scares me most: seeing me able to do some jobs but just be snubbed because I don't have a degree. Many times in industries' "Career Opportunities" I saw as a requirement "Bachelor degree in Computer Science or equivalent."
What do they mean with equivalent, other than experience?
Do you think that an highly specialized School like this one would be a valuable education for Western industry too? What would the reaction to a similar curriculum in America?

Thank you very much for your time.
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:17 PM   #2
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You should go to that school that you want to go to. After you graduate, you will be well placed to work in Japan. Once you've worked in Japan a few years, you will be able to get a game job anywhere.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:09 AM   #3
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Thank you very much for the fast reply!
I think you've got a point, for sure: after some working experience there everything should be ok.
The hiring part is always my worse nightmare.
It's just that I don't have so many contacts in industry to know how it works and I'll be glad to learn as much as possible before starting my studies, since moving to Japan isn't an easy task.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:16 AM   #4
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Read some of my articles, then.
One of them is about Japan. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson48.htm
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:54 AM   #5
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Ah ah, that's fun! I just finished to read you article about Japan and now I see your new reply.
Congratulation for the site, I love it.
I'm happy that an experienced person like you, who truly worked there for a while, recommends me to study there in Japan.
What made me smile is the fact that I already started searching out for career offers in Japan with google translate and with (a very little bit) japanese ability, as you wrote in that text
Now I just have a lot to study! =)
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