Starting in 2015, the NYU Game Center, a department within the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, has just announced they’ll be offering bachelor of fine arts degrees in video game design.
Only 20 students will be accepted into the selective program, which offers courses including “Play Labs”–opportunities to “critically play” games by particular designers and studios, or in specific genres. The school opened its MFA program in 2013, and the first graduating class received their diplomas this past May.
While several technology-focused colleges offer undergraduate degrees in game design, such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York; the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York; the University of Southern California; NYU is one of the first liberal arts-leaning schools to do so. It signals a shift in mainstream attitudes towards gaming, as the ivory towers of the academic world are beginning to recognize the artistry and innovation that goes into creating these virtual realities, however debauched some may be (one recent study linked playing violent games like Grand Theft Auto to deviant behavior in teens.).
It’s probably no coincidence that this comes at a time when game creation tools are becoming more accessible, and the manpower and resources required to create games with beautiful graphics don’t require exorbitant funds. Fifteen years ago, it might take an aspiring gamer half his life to design even an amateur game, but the technology has evolved such that the process has been streamlined, and a couple of people can create interesting, innovative games with a relatively tiny budget.
Frank Lantz, the director of the Game Center, explained the program’s mission The New York Times.
If you study history, if you study literature, if you study science and engineering, you’re not just studying for a job in that field, you’re using that as a structuring element to understand everything else,” said Frank Lantz, the director of the Game Center.
The undergraduate degree, he said, would help students understand “the significance of game design as not only a potential career but as a way of thinking about the world.”
So if you’re a teen whose parents hound you for playing too much Call of Duty, you can tell them you’re preparing for college.
[H/T the New York Times]