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Meet Josh Delson of Rose Valley Jam in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Delson.

Josh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I pursued the game industry when my high school created a game design course after me. Growing up I was a creative kid, but never knew making games can be a profession until that moment. As a Chicago local, I decided to study Game Design at DePaul University. The courses were great, but I spent most of my time in various service-based leadership opportunities. While my friends were making games for fun, I was traveling the world meeting with historic community leaders. Being in solidarity with so many community leaders inspired me to do more than just make games after graduation. I wanted to use game development to bring communities together.

Has it been a smooth road?
Not smooth at all. Trying to break into the game industry is rough because it’s a new profession and changing everyday. There are too many college students graduating in game development with not enough jobs available in their field. Luckily I did graphic design in high school and had a job lined up after graduation. I spent all my free time making indie games, running game development organizations, and volunteering at game conferences. Through each experience I took away life lessons and mentorship opportunities from people who shaped the game industry as a whole. Thanks to my mentors, I received my first professional game job in Pasadena, CA. Looking back, it’s been such an honor being in their presence and I would seriously not be here without them.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Rose Valley Jam story. Tell us more about the business.
I started the Rose Valley Jam. Imagine students from Pasadena teaming up with iconic industry professionals to make video games.

The Rose Valley Jam was a vision from Alex Seropian (CEO/Founder of EA – Industrial Toys, Wideload Games, & Bungie) to promote the amazing creatives in Pasadena. Did you know Pasadena has a AAA game studio? Or that high school students in Pasadena create video games as part of their curriculum? Neither did I until Alex asked me to make his vision come to life. When we publicly announced the Rose Valley Jam, the program received so much positive feedback from local organizations (Innovate Pasadena, Caltech, ArtCenter, Pasadena Educational Foundation, etc.). We used the Rose Valley Jam to bring Pasadena’s amazing communities together through game development.

As someone who ran numerous game development programs, I can guarantee the Rose Valley Jam is like nothing else in the world. Students in the Rose Valley Jam get hands-on mentorship and guidance from game developers at various EA studios including Industrial Toys, Respawn, and DICE LA. The Rose Valley Jam even offers professional portfolio reviews and Q&A panels from the studios for free. By the time the participants finish their games, we surprise them by having Terry Tornek (Mayor of Pasadena) come in and play all their games. I seriously can’t think of any other game program doing this which is why I’m proud of making it happen. It’s been SUCH a blessing making this program come to life!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I personally believe the game industry will exceed my expectations five years from now. Within the last decade, the game industry has evolved so much with new platforms, game trends, and industry politics. There’s so much technological advancement happening every day that soon mobile games will become a major competitor with home consoles internationally.

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