UC Santa Cruz hires John and Brenda Romero

Industry veterans will run new professional game development degree program at California university.


The University of California at Santa Cruz announced today that it has hired Brenda and John Romero to head up a new program that leads to a master's degree in games and playable media at the school's Silicon Valley Center.

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Brenda Romero was appointed the school's first game designer in residence at the Center for Games and Playable Media in January 2013. She will now serve as program director, where she will oversee curriculum and instructors, teach and mentor students, and establish connections with industry companies.

As for John Romero, he will work as creative director for the master's program at UCSC, teaching courses, mentoring students, and helping "shape the overall creative vision for the program."

He worked on iconic franchises like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake and cofounded a number of game companies, including id Software, Gazillion Entertainment, and Loot Drop.

"We are very excited to have two highly accomplished veterans of the game industry coming on board to direct our new professional degree program," said professor and chair of the Computer Science Department Jim Whitehead. "They have been involved in the development of a huge number of games and game studios, and they have created some of the most influential games, both in mainstream culture and in the art world."

Brenda Romero previously served as the chair of the Savannah College of Art and Design's Interactive Design and Game Development department, while John Romero assisted in establishing the Digital Games Guildhall program at Southern Methodist University.

UCSC's master's in games and playable media is a 12-month degree focused on "combining technical and design innovation." During the course, students will work in teams to create games that are critiqued and mentored by John Romero.

"In creating games, I look for innovative ways to explore spaces and game mechanics, doing things other games have not done," John Romero said. "In working with UCSC, my goal is to push students toward innovation while working on my own new indie projects alongside them."

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Avatar image for Justin_G

JR is a cool dude.

Avatar image for Cloud_imperium

If only their game "Shaker-Old School RPG" would've been successfully funded .

Avatar image for Bond_Villain

Where is Daikatana 2?

Avatar image for ecurl143

John may not be the prime mover he once was but his CV must be hella impressive.

You pretty much walk into any job that has you down as co-founder of Id Software and level designer for some of the most influential and groundbreaking titles in the history of games development.

This guy was right there at the start of it all - respect is due.

As for his missus, I have no idea who she is or what she's done.

Avatar image for Townfool

Like the old saying...

Those who can DO...those who can't TEACH!

Couple of con artists who made a great living off the coat tails of others

Avatar image for Horndawgie

Santa Cruz is hands down the best place to live in the USA. Oceans, redwood forests, great art and food. It's no surprise that so many talented, intelligent people choose Santa Cruz area to live. I'm lucky to spend half my week there, and living in Fresno the other half makes me appreciate Santa Cruz that much more.

Avatar image for Centurion95

I wonder how many of his students would even remember Dai katana....

Avatar image for ziqi92

...maybe I picked the wrong UC...

Avatar image for D1N02982

George A Romero vs John Romero

Avatar image for ahpuck

Still has that long hair, huh?

Avatar image for monstachruck



Avatar image for brxricano

@monstachruck nonononono we dont speak of that here, go the **** outside with that.

Avatar image for ahpuck

@monstachruck He wants to kick your ass.

Avatar image for DM78

learn how to spend 10 years creating a game - and another 10 patching it

jokes aside - this guy is legend

Avatar image for ikcizokm

John's a good guy. Glad to see he and his wife are making a positive contribution to something they've both given and gained so much from. I hung out with him at E3 many years ago and was impressed -- a lot of the ego talk that surrounded him was PR fluff. He was a very down-to-earth, pass-you-a-beer kinda guy. Looking forward to seeing talented alums from this program.

Avatar image for solid_snake_CRO

John Romero's about to make you his bitch!!

Avatar image for jyml8582

First day of class, the first line on the syllabus says, " Professor Romero is about to make you his bitch."

Avatar image for Centurion95

@jyml8582 Damn, you beat me to it

Avatar image for alien33

Anyone else old enough to remember shooting his head in the Icon Of Sin level of DOOM 2? :)

Avatar image for Zloth2

@alien33 Of course I remember. It wasn't THAT long ago! Heck, I remember Wolfenstein not-3D. Speech synth through an Apple speaker, ooo!

Avatar image for alien33

@Zloth2 @alien33 Well, 1994 is quite awhile ago... Though we don't want to admit that years pass so fast!!

Avatar image for DM78


Yes - id Software RULED the '90s!

John Romero was a key to that success.

Avatar image for BravoOneActual

"So I took a hard look at the massive cash the NCAA rakes in off of the student athlete gravy train and said to myself, 'How can I get in on collegiate slave lab... uh... I mean I look forward to working on my own indie projects along side them."

Avatar image for mlund05

where was that degree 10 years ago when I was starting college

Avatar image for cryingdevil63

John Romero still rocking the majestic hair!

Avatar image for DaN_WiL

Man will they fit in with the Banana slugs.

Avatar image for Queuingreturns

John Romero is a living legend. Enough said. : )

Avatar image for ptrpedrohung

You get a D for Daikatana

Avatar image for nate1222

@ptrpedrohung Ohhh, come on now. Daikatana was a good game...after a gazillion patches.

Avatar image for ptrpedrohung

Prospective students of UC Santa Cruz, John Romero will make you his bitch.

Avatar image for hochstreck

You have to be kidding me, as every game this guy had full responsibility for was subpar at best. This guy might be many things, but he surely is not a decent game-designer.

For him it was always about his ego and making money, so it seemed.

Avatar image for wEEman33_IV

Suck it down. @hochstreck

Avatar image for Huskypaw

sounds good, who knows

Avatar image for Kiaininja

They look like a pair of adult movie stars. XD

Avatar image for John_Aguilera

Wow that's awesome! Love John Romero

Avatar image for Bowser05

His career has seen all sorts of ups and downs, but that just means he has more useful lessons to bring to the table. I'm not the biggest fan of John Romero, but I certainly think he'll be a good teacher. Good going UCSC.

Avatar image for onixevil

I support this guy to be the head of this program .since It meant to be someone more knowledgeable about the root of all 3D engines .

Avatar image for cmdrbedlam

Didn't one of them write a book about the video game industry or am I wrong?

Avatar image for cmdrbedlam

Man, my university only has indie peeps.

Avatar image for wEEman33_IV

Suck it down. @Psycho_truth @wEEman33_IV

Avatar image for wEEman33_IV

John Romero's about to make a bunch of students his bitch.

Avatar image for Hurvl

@wEEman33_IV John Romero's about to make you study for an exam about how to make potential future customers become female dogs.

Avatar image for kljvoph

@Hurvl @wEEman33_IV There won't be any exams. It's a Masters program so just a thesis. A 100 page thesis mind you.

Avatar image for Danzorz88

Didn't they learn from Daikatana?

Do they realize they are about to become John Romeros bitch?

Avatar image for bouchart

So John Romero finally found a new job. Took long enough.

Avatar image for jinzo9988

Couldn't they get someone more relevant to today's industry? Sure, I get that those relevant to today's industry are likely still working within it... but that's like going to university and having them teach you about Windows 95/98. He's largely been a failure without his colleagues at id. I'm not saying he can't teach anything of value... I just think it's an odd pick.

Avatar image for kljvoph

@jinzo9988 Funny I was thinking the same thing.

Avatar image for frozenux

The 80s power is still strong in those 2.

Avatar image for kingliono

If I could turn back the clock 25 years I would be there in his class. I was accepted there for Marine Biology, which is more in line with what the campus is known for. That and partying. This could change the campus dynamic significantly and the proximity to Silicon Valley is a huge benefit. But the weather is so much nicer...

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