Game Design Portfolio Admissions Requirement

The Game Design Requirements are changing. Below is an example of past requirements.  Please check back July 2014 for updated information.


Individuals that are successful in the Champlain College Game Design major, and in the game industry in general, possess strong skills in creativity, communication, technical aptitude, and problem solving. As part of your application for admission into the Game Design major, Champlain College requires the completion of a game design conceptual exercise called The Game Design Challenge. This is a written, creative exercise that is designed to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your design skills, your creativity, and your ability to communicate your ideas.

The Challenge: Using the gameplay from one of games listed below, create a new and improved experience fit for a 21stcentury game player. The modification should be creative, innovative, and clearly communicated, but the underlying gameplay should adhere to the original gameplay style. As an example, you could modify Pac-Man by changing the objectives from gobbling up dots while escaping ghosts to a game about saving money by gobbling up coins while avoiding temptation. Choose from one of these three games:

  • Pac-Man
  • Break-Out
  • Donkey Kong

To complete this application, you will be filling out a form in SlideRoom. We suggest you copy the questions below and prepare your design in a Word document. When you are ready, copy and paste your work into the form for submission. Be thorough in your answers, but also focus on concise, clear communication.

Demonstrate the modifications of your new game by addressing the following questions:

  1. How are you applying? (Early Decision 1, Early Decision 2, Regular Decision)
  2. What game did you choose to reinvent?
  3. Describe the complete gameplay of the original game.
  4. What is the new theme or subject of your game?
  5. Describe the game environment and/or narrative associated with the game.
  6. Describe the player's goals in gameplay.
  7. Describe how you will challenge the players to meet these goals. What obstacles must they overcome? How do they play?
  8. Describe how the game is organized. Are there levels? What defines progress?
  9. How does the player win?
  10. How does the player lose?

In addition to The Challenge exercise, we'd like to know a bit more about you.

  1. Describe what interests you about Champlain College's Game Design program.
  2. Describe what areas of game design you have explored (e.g. writing game narratives, creating mods, critiquing games, designing and building your own games, etc.)
  3. List any technologies you have used (e.g. GameMaker, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, any modding environment, 3DS Max, Blender, etc.) and provide a brief description of how you used them.
  4. Tell us about yourself. Describe any other activities that you are engaged in that you would like us to know about.
  5. If any of your additional items are located on the Web, please include your URL here:
  6. Please include any additional information you would like to submit:

How will the portfolio be evaluated?

Deconstruction and Systems Thinking — At the core of the game designer's innate abilities, similar to an artist's aesthetic talent, is the ability to deconstruct a game into its parts, and to creatively see the potential of those systems to create new player experiences. We are looking for evidence of strong systems thinking.

Creativity and Innovation — we want to see your creative mind at work, and your ability to problem solve. Consider going into new territory and themes with your game. How will you solve the problem of working with well-worn gameplay mechanics while making a truly modern gameplay experience?

Successful Communication — we want to see how well you can communicate your ideas. The writing should be your best, and your ideas well organized. After reading your submission, we should be able to understand and visualize your design.

Additional Materials (Suggested)

If you would like to submit additional materials to enhance your portfolio they can be for the following purposes:

  • Further define and enhance your Game Design Challenge.
  • Further demonstrate your experience in making games.

You are allowed up to five additional submissions. If you have a group of images, or other like materials, you may want to consider placing them together in a single .pdf to save space.

  • Narrative description of plot, characters, and/or backstory
  • Flow charts of your game's flow, interactivity, or logic to gameplay
  • Diagrams of your interface or interactivity or levels
  • Artwork of characters or environment
  • A storyboard of gameplay. This is a series of images you have created that show the experience and/or story of your game.
  • A prototype or mod you have created of your game captured in a video (.mov).
  • Link to a website where we can watch your video or .swf. (place in the form)
  • Link to a website where we can play or download your game (place in the form)

Accepted File Formats:

  • .JPG (5MB limit)
  • .PNG (5MB limit)
  • .GIF (5MB limit)
  • .MOV (60MB limit)
  • .WMV (60MB limit)
  • .FLV (60MB limit)
  • .PDF (10MB limit)

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