Laughter and applause erupted from the Terrace Room in Claudia Cohen Hall Thursday night as part of Penn Media and Entertainment Week.
The evening began with keynote speaker Paul Barnett, the senior creative director of Electronic Arts, and the fun continued with a Just Dance 3 Competition.
The Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity and the Undergraduate Media and Entertainment Club organized the event in order to showcase what the gaming industry has to offer. “We wanted to bring underrepresented industries to campus, and make people aware [that] everything isn’t about finance and consulting,” said College senior Yong Lin Lee, co-founder and co-director of Media and Entertainment Week. “There are other sources of opportunity out there.”
A panel of members of the Penn community who have worked at EA discussed their experiences working in the gaming industry. Jessica Rawson, who works for University Relations at EA in San Francisco, led the talk. The purpose of this panel, she explained, was to find the next generation of gamers that want to pursue careers in the field.
College and Wharton senior Bryce Frost, president of Alpha Kappa Psi, had a similar purpose for the event in mind. “We want people to become exposed to the gaming industry,” he said.
Students in attendance learned about the industry by listening to panel members discuss their typical day at EA. Each panelist was asked to describe the EA culture in one word. Responses ranged from “casual fun” to “beer” to “great people.”
Wharton and Engineering senior Nop Jiarathanakul, who interned at EA last summer, said he thought the event was more successful because EA teamed with Alpha Kappa Psi. “That gives better integration,” he said.
In light of the Year of Games — an initiative of the Provost’s Office — students had the ability to try out new game demos from EA and Ubisoft.
“Gaming is joining people together. Grandparents are talking to grandchildren again in a language they can understand,” Barnett said. “In two presidential elections from now, it will be impossible for someone running for president to not understand what gaming is. Gaming is becoming as obvious, ubiquitous and commonplace as the car.”
As Penn gamers walked around viewing these new demos, the Year of Games was in full effect. “The Year of Games is to promote awareness about video games,” said Wharton junior Whitney Sun, co-founder and co-director of Media and Entertainment Week. “Penn is a school that likes to support something, and this whole week in general is to promote a different idea than what we usually encounter.”
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