During transfer student orientation last fall, Brien Rondeau ’24 and Alex Supron ’25 felt a spark of inspiration. They planned to resurrect the University’s branch of The International Game Developers Association (IGDA), a club that game design students say is one of the most significant assets for networking and finding jobs in the industry.
Just one year later, IGDA meetings at Clark are attracting more than 60 students, according to Rondeau and Supron, the president and vice president, respectively, of Clark’s IGDA branch.
Becker College’s branch of the group had paused activity when Clark University absorbed the game design program.
“When I transferred to Clark, I was looking for clubs to join and noticed the IGDA club had gone silent,” says Rondeau. “I got in touch with the former leaders, and they gave me their blessing to revive it.”
With encouragement from Becker School of Design & Technology faculty, the IGDA is increasing the number of game-related events on campus. This semester, Rondeau and Supron have been busy planning one of the club’s biggest-ever events. The first Clark Game Expo is expected to bring upwards of 200 people to the Center for Media Arts, Computing, and Design from 3 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. The event, a collaboration between the IGDA and BSDT, will feature 23 student and 17 professional showcases, portfolio reviews, and a networking space, bringing together a community of game enthusiasts from aspiring student developers to seasoned industry professionals.
“This is the perfect time to see what interactive media students are doing,” says Rondeau. “We want the Clark community to know what’s being created in this program.”
Professional companies attending the event include Petricore, a Worcester-based extended reality (XR) studio that will showcase a new game on the Oculus Quest, a virtual reality (VR) headset; New Blood Interactive, an indie publisher that will show a new game demo; Demiurge Studios, a Boston-based independent game studio; Firaxis Games, a video game developer; and Rockstar Games, a video game publisher. About 150 developers are expected to attend.
Students will exhibit Game Studio projects, undergraduate work, and personal portfolios. The event will give students a chance to network with industry talent, and Clarkies who sign up can receive professional portfolio reviews. More than 50 Clarkies will be staffing student-run showcases, displaying their work for peers and professionals.
“All last year was spent preparing to make a big impact,” says Supron. “We tried to be the most outgoing people possible.”
The IGDA is a nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to assist game developers around the world in finding and retaining sustainable careers. The Clark branch has made significant progress since its first event in February — a talk by Monty Sharma, managing director of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute — which was attended by roughly 20 students.
“Worcester has had one of the best game design programs in the world for years. We want to centralize Worcester, and Clark specifically, as a place where the next generation of game developers are being made,” says Rondeau.
The IGDA regularly hosts industry developer talks, career and portfolio workshops, and game jams, a (typically) 48-hour contest in which teams of student developers work together to design and build a complete game as the clock ticks down.
“Game jams are the most important educational resource for aspiring game developers,” Supron says. “In game design, you have to fail badly to understand what you did wrong. These events give you that learning experience.”
The IGDA is committed to making a lasting impact on campus, says Charles Weiller ’25, the club’s secretary.
“We want to leave behind the ability to obtain a job in the game industry for future generations of Clark students,” says Weiller.