@amsunshine CS does not emphasize games unless you specifically major in CS Games. The have CS, CECS, CS Games and CSBA. It is easy to move between the engineering majors once in Viterbi, whether CS or Chem E, EE, etc.
It is definitely collaborative, but keep in mind the level of the kids in Viterbi are tippy top performers, so it is naturally competitive by nature. But as a whole, the program demands a lot of collaboration (because of projects and because it is needed to be successful). There are several group projects through the years, but the students really help each other consistently. There are naturally kids with a specific genius type talent and they tend to pool their individual strengths to make everyone better. My recent grad had an exceptional experience in CS and made many many true life long friends. A bunch of them lived together their senior year - the brain power in that one house was incredible. Those kids really bond over an intense program and lofty goals. They had a lot more fun than one would think considering how brilliant they all are and the demands of the program. They went on to some incredible opportunities and some are launching very successful start-ups.
While there, the opportunities for projects in and outside of USC are outstanding. I know they were doing some SW projects for the city of LA that were cool. Socially, they def weren’t hanging on Greek row, but lived a very good social life in LA and took advantage of the usual SC activities - even some red carpet events, dining in BH and Manhattan Beach, hanging downtown, hitting the gym then taco trucks at 1am, football games, parties, campus events. They lived large and well.
I have had many kids major at the different schools within USC (still have one there) and I always try to tell it like it is at USC - the good and the bad - and when it came to CS, it was all good. Not a single complaint.