Full Sail not sailing with a full sail

Not really gaming news, just a humorous observation.

So I know that videogame colleges are the new film school, but if you want people to throw their money into your program you need to look like you know what you’re doing. In the March 2007 EGM page 97 the ad has a guy holding an xbox control like he’s playing a game and thinking up ideas. Besides the obvious racial stereotype, the guy’s holding the control backwards!

If I’m a gamer with dreams of making my own game, and I see that ad, suddenly the Collins college ads start looking a lot better.

I thought Full Sail was actually a legit game design school.

Ah, good. I was worried about one of my favorite beer brands.

I’ve heard Full Sail is “okay,” but DigiPen will land you a job at Nintendo or Sony pretty easily, and GuildHall @ SMU seems to have produced some pretty interesting student projects and I wouldn’t be surprised if those grads ended up at various different game development companies all over.

You have to hold the controller upside down to tighten up the graphics on level 3.

To be fair, we just went and looked up the ad (it’s in the March issue of Game Developer too), and we think it’s more of a ‘conceptual’ holding up to camera than a deliberate goof. YMMV!

Also, I would say that Full Sail is certainly one of the more reasonable schools out there. Though - as another commenter points out, places like DigiPen and Guildhall @ SMU seem to have particularly good reputations right now.

(One good way to get an idea of the caliber of schools that create full games is to see how many of their titles make it to IGF Student Showcase finalists - disclaimer, I run the IGF:

This year, DigiPen led with 3 finalists and one game (Toblo) also a Main Competition finalist, though Guildhall @ SMU had 1 finalist and 1 more Mod Finalist in a separate competition.

There are other schools doing excellent work, too - the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy was another notable student finalist this year - Opera Slinger is pretty neat.)

Man, that is the worst game school print ad EVAR.

Apparently Mark Hartlieb is a lesbian with a chin implant.

Digipen is the real deal.

Back when I was still full-on indie, I gave a little presentation in the Digipen(/Nintendo) building, and one of the profs gave me a tour and told me a bit about it. That place has their shit together. Anyone coming out of a 4-year program there will almost certainly be pick of the litter.

Hiro: Yes, I heard every year Nintendo blanket offers jobs to the top graduates of DigiPen. I don’t know if this is still true.

Digipen will land you a job at Nintendo because that’s who they are owned by, how do you think they keep their 99% placement statement?

All kidding aside, Digipen is a good, tough program but it all really depends on how much you put back into it. I landed my first industry job just after my freshman year at Digipen. However we are interviewing some graduates at my current job and most of them have been less than stellar. I don’t think that any degree will guarantee that you make it into the industry, however they can help with pointing you in the right direction and giving you access to things that will help(group projects are the #1 thing that most employers seem to really like about Digipen).

That’s not true any more is it? I heard they are no longer directly associated with N.

Nope, they are still owned by Nintendo. As I understand it they’ve been talking about breaking off but nothing more than that.

As with all programs, it comes down to the individual student. That said, Digipen does indeed know their stuff. I don’t actually know a whole lot about the Full Sail program; I imagine it’s technically competent, but I hear it just doesn’t have the same industry clout. Guild Hall is the other respected program. From what I hear, most other programs are crap, which is more a function of the students than anything else. (Art Institute of Wherever students are notoriously unmotivated…)

  • Alan

On a related note, anyone know of a resource on the web for looking at colleges with game thoery, game design or similar programs? My 16-year-old son is very interested, and I’m looking for a carrot-on-a-stick to encourage him to keep plugging away at school.


  • Alan

Noice! Thanks Alan.

I’ve known four people that have come from Full Sail. Two were of outstanding quality. Two were far less than adequate for an entry level job.

I’ve known one person from Digipen, and he was great.


I’ve worked with 5 people from Full Sail; all five were better than average.

Haven’t worked with anyone from DigiPen yet, but they have a sterling reputation in the industry.

From what I’ve been lead to understand FullSail is primarily about training engineers. They do other disciplines, but they’re mostly taking engineering classes.

Also, I don’t care where you went to school, but if you come into a design interview with me and don’t have a portfolio tucked under your arm you won’t get the job.