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EA promotes skills in schools Masterclass

Publisher pleased with success of event underlining importance of creativity and physics to pupils

Electronic Arts has told GamesIndustry.biz that it was pleased with its involvement in last week's national Shine festival, during which it hosted a Masterclass to teach school pupils more about getting into the games industry.

The Masterclass, attended by the company's VP and general manager for the UK - Keith Ramsdale - involved children creating their own levels for Boom Blox Bash Party in an attempt to generate a greater understanding of what skills are needed to make games.

"Many young people believe that to succeed in the videogaming industry you have to be 'good at computers'," Ramsdale told GamesIndustry.biz. "However, it relies on a very diverse range of talents including storytelling, physics, art and design and mathematics.

"It was great to see the children making those links between what they studied in the classroom and what might be needed in a future career in games. It was a wonderful day - two schools took part and it was great to see both boys and girls alike really getting involved and inspired by what they learnt."

And Harvey Elliott, the VP and general manager of the Brightlight Studio, added: "It's a great way of giving kids an experience in making levels and sitting with our producers and designers and letting them find out how do you do that, how do you build this and it means they can construct something of their own."

The Masterclass took place in Pall Mall, London, with the Berger Primary School from Hackney and the Lady Margaret School from Parson's Green, and was also attended by Sion Simon, minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

"It's about recognising and cherishing the talent of young people, all young people have," said Simon. "The message to young people from an early age needs to be 'you think gaming is fantastic and glamorous and you think physics is less fantastic and unglamorous, well you need to start thinking about squaring that circle if you want to be one of the next generation of games developers'.

"This is really a great way to begin to plant that seed into young people's minds. It's in the industry's interest to foster and to develop the next generation of talent and clearly it's in the government's interest too"

Boom Blox Bash Party, part-developed by Steven Spielberg, was released last month as the follow-up to the original Boom Blox game.

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