Digital Games Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What are Digital Games?

Digital games are electronic, interactive programs for one or more players to provide entertainment or allow players to build skills. Digital games are an adaptation of traditional physical game systems with rules, objectives, and player representation that is managed through electronic means instead of physical via a digital device such as a computer console.

Digital Games are available across a variety of formats and platforms, including mobile, virtual and augmented reality, console, and PC. Digital copy means that the game is installed on the system and can be played without a disk, whilst physical copies have also been installed but you will need the disk to be in your system every time you want to play that game.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Digital Games courses in the following subject areas:

  • Digital Games – The study of digital media & gaming technologies, game conception, design and manufacture,
  • Digital Worlds: Designing Games, Creating Alternative Realities – Discover how computer games and interactive digital experiences are designed, made, marketed, and played.
  • Computer Games Design and Development – Gain the knowledge, skill, and competence to work in a creative computer gaming setting
  • Software Development and Games Design – Gain the knowledge and skills to be able to design, create and maintain websites, databases, and computer networks, as well as the fundamentals of computer programming.
  • Computer Game Development – The study of programming, mobile app development, game development, communication and production skills, and media entrepreneurship.
  • Software Development with Games Design – The study of Network Essentials, Hardware Essentials, System Software, Web Authoring, Computer Programming, Computer Architecture, and Systems.

Studying Digital Games in college

Many Digital Games courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover all theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. You could also consider work experience or try applying for an internship with a games company during or after your course. Game design internship opportunities are occasionally advertised, but applications for these are fierce and you must try to get relevant work experience. Ideally, this experience should be with both free-to-play and premium or AAA games across a range of platforms.

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

However you do it, the best experience is to design your own game, by putting together the storyboard, prototype, and demo. You can then place this on your online portfolio. Prospective employers need to be able to try out your work, so ensure the demo can be downloaded or, at the very least, make sure video footage of the game in action is available.

Career options

After completing a course in Digital Games you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Digital Games, their history, and trends in the gaming community.

Work is mainly studio-based within a multidisciplinary team including artists, engineers, programmers, animators, producers, and content developers. Working in the Digital Game industry means you will bring ideas, build prototypes, create interactive narration and develop the game’s mechanics. You’ll design systems that are easily maintainable, expandable, and comfortable to use while injecting fun into the user experience.

The majority of Digital Game careers have employees that are employed full-time, with a small number being self-employed or working part-time. Although self-employment and freelance roles are rare, with experience you may be able to work as a game design consultant.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are freelancing or working on a specific contract. You will typically work between 30 and 40 hours per week on average. Flexible working hours may be available. You may need to work weekends and evenings as deadlines approach.

Travel isn’t a feature of the work, although you may travel to represent your company at events and conferences. Digital Games are now also being widely used across a range of industries which means that there may also be opportunities with advertising firms, broadcasting companies, computing, and electronics organizations, creative agencies, education providers and education resource suppliers, esports associations, event organizers, hardware and software distributors, PR, communications and marketing firms, software developers and trade and retail organizations.

Related jobs include:

  • Game Developer
  • Applications developer
  • Game Artist
  • Game Tester
  • Software Tester
  • Animator
  • Game designer
  • Graphic designer
  • VFS Artist
  • Software Engineer
  • Multimedia Programmer
  • Animator
  • Concept Artist
  • Software engineer
  • Art worker

Further study

After completing a course in Digital Games you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as games design, digital experience design, independent games, and UX design.


Are there any skills that would be useful to have when starting a career in Digital Games?

You’ll need to have a technical ability, in particular, familiarization with a range of programming languages and software technologies and packages such as C#, C++, and Python.

You should have a passion for gaming and an understanding of the different hardware platforms available for games. Communication skills, both verbal and written, to put your ideas across to other members of the team and team working skills, and the ability to collaborate with others to create the finished game will be vital.

A willingness and aptitude to learn new technical skills such as version control software and an innovative approach to game design and the ability to come up with new ideas will be very helpful.

Other skills that will be useful to most career paths are organization and project management skills, confidence and influencing skills to present your ideas, and problem-solving skills. A flexible approach to work to tailor your ideas and to meet deadlines and a commitment and focus to complete every task to a high standard are also great qualities that employers are looking for.

Where can I study Digital Games?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Minecraft is the best-selling video game so far. With over US$180 million in sales, Minecraft remains to be one of the most played games across all platforms, even beating the iconic Tetris’ sales by a close US$10 million.

· Antonio Monteiro of Texas holds the Guinness World Record for the largest video game collection at 20,139 video games. The collection features games from the 2nd to 8th generation consoles and over 100 devices to play them on.

· One of the earliest video games was created by a physicist. In October 1958, William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two. Its gameplay was similar to Pong and was displayed on an oscilloscope instead of the traditional LED screen. 

· The longest video game session lasted 138 hours and 34 seconds. Carrie Swidecki of the U.S. played Just Dance 2015 from July 11-17, 2015 at Otto’s Video Games and More in Bakersfield, California. This is the longest anyone’s played a game nonstop. Swidecki achieved this record by attempting to break her previous Guinness World Record for charity.

· Grand Theft Auto was supposed to be a much tamer Race’n’Chase, but during a test run, a glitch made the police cars attack the player. The glitch was so well-received by testers that the developers had to scrap the original concept and rebuild the game around high-speed police chases.

Mariza Halliday

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