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Why computer games are good for your teen

Parents take heed - playing computer games might not be such a waste for your children.

According to leading computer game programming experts, including employers, the sector is emerging as a growth area and with real potential for future employment.

Speaking at the 2011 Games Fleadh -- one of the most important annual gatherings for would-be computer game programmers at second and third-level education -- at the Thurles campus of Tipperary Institute, the CEO of Open Emotion Studios, Patrick Murphy said there was huge potential to develop a lucrative gaming sector in Ireland.

"We have the creativity and highly skilled graduates to create an indigenous sector and we would love to see Irish graduates establishing their own gaming companies in the future. This is one of few industries that has not experienced a downturn in the economy and is a sure bet to deliver jobs long into the future," he said.

"The Games Fleadh certainly gives these budding young computer game programmers an opportunity to put themselves in the shop window and we will be keeping an eye out for the best on show, as we are looking to scale up in the coming years."

Tipperary Institute said that the sector was already thriving. The Tipperary Institute BSc Games Design and Development degree course, which is only in its fourth year, has more first preference applications year on year than can be facilitated, the college said.

This year's Games Fleadh saw students develop their own versions of the iconic Frogger computer game to mark its 30th anniversary.

hnews@herald.ie