Alumnus lives out dreams as video game designer

Video game designer and Florida A&M University alumnus Benjamin Johnson is expected to lecture April 11 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. in the Humphries Science Research Building.

Johnson, now a game designer with Rockstar Games in San Diego, is credited with leading a team of Rockstar video game designers in the development of the company’s first Xbox 360 game titled “Rockstar presents: Table Tennis.”

Johnson’s lecture will be part of the 40th anniversary of the Computer Information Systems program.

The program first came into existence between 1967 and 1968.

“We use this milestone to showcase the department and to celebrate the accomplishments of our students,” said Barbara Black, computer information systems program director.

 Johnson shared how his passion for video games developed.

“When I was a kid, I found out about programming and started toying around with a language called BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) that came installed on my computer,” he said. “I kept tinkering with programming and once I learned it could be a job for me, I decided to go to school for it.”

Before Johnson graduated in 1998 from FAMU, he served as CIS Club junior vice president and the Association for Computer Machinery Club president.

Johnson also wrote many articles for the CIS student newsletter.

Johnson said he did not consider himself a hardcore math or science student but he knew he had to do well in those classes because of how important they would be if he were to consider a career in video game programming.

Johnson advises youth to find out how to turn hobbies and desires into a livelihood.