USC Games is a joint effort of USC Cinematic Arts and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that allows future game designers to collaborate freely. One new game was aimed at children with autism, helping them to learn social cues.
Social Clues was one of seven video games presented at USC Games’ Demo Day on May 14 at the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre, where a standing-room only crowd of industry leaders, students and faculty members witnessed the work of USC students from throughout the campus. When trying to develop a successful children’s game for the iPad, Jeremy Bernstein thought not just of young consumers, but of their parents.
“A lot of these games are the ones where the kids would want to buy it,” said Bernstein, a former MBA student who just graduated at USC, “but ours is one we’re hoping that parents get it and say, ‘I actually want to buy a video game for my child,’ as opposed to telling them, ‘Stop playing that for five hours.’ ”
And so, Social Clues, an iPad game for children with autism and communication defects, was born. It allows children to choose a character with a goal — sharing your toys or learning to laugh at the appropriate time — in a playful interface that provides parents with progress reports on their child’s performance on such tasks.
USC was voted the No. 1 game design school in North America by The Princeton Review in March. This third-annual demo day took place in mid-May 2014.