Before graduation, every Drexel University student has to complete a six-month internship, or what the university calls a co-op. It’s meant to give students real-world job experience.
But Greg Lobanov, a rising senior digital media major, already had a taste of the indie game development world with his company Dumb and Fat Games, and he wasn’t thrilled with the idea of doing intern grunt work. So he hired himself.
Despite the rise of student entrepreneurship, Lobanov is the first student in his major do this, said Drexel Co-op Coordinator Michelle Mignot. Students majoring in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship have done this though, she said.
Since starting his co-op last month, he’s already launched Perfection, a puzzle game that IndieGames.com called “Fruit Ninja for smart people.”
Lobanov first had to convince Drexel to allow him to hire himself for his co-op. He had to write a “strong, passionate pitch,” prove his track record by highlighting the games he had already developed and show why this route would be a better experience than a traditional internship.
“It seems to me that anything I’d be doing as an intern anywhere couldn’t possibly be as interesting, challenging, educational, or as catered to my interests as making entire games on my own rule,” Lobanov wrote in an email to Technically Philly.
He also snagged Garth DeAngelis, lead producer at Baltimore-based Firaxis Games, to be his mentor for the program.
Lobanov’s been using the time to work on things like marketing his games and juggling multiple projects — things he said he didn’t have much time to focus on as a full-time student.
He’s also using the co-op for another purpose: it’s a way for him to test the waters and see if he should pursue his own game company after he graduates. If he can prove to himself that he can be self-sustaining, he’ll keep at it, he said.
For Lobanov, making games is the easy part. Now, he said, he needs to learn how to make them successful.