Video Game Design Major At George Mason Getting Real Popular: Yay For Gamers At Large

April 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

So George Mason’s being overwhelmed by the number of enrollments in their Degree In Video Game Design program. Apparently, the university waaay underestimated the number of nerds in this country.

“We’ve been overwhelmed,” said Scott M. Martin, assistant dean for technology, research and advancement at GMU. “Our anticipated enrollment for the fall is 500 percent higher than we expected.”

My thoughts are 1. No duh. Note to academics and government regulators: video games aren’t just the provenance of a mythical group of boys that remain perpetually 14. There are men out there who played Tecmo Bowl or Super Mario Bros. close to 20 years ago. Furthermore, I’d wager that few in the planning department realized that, for many of today’s high schoolers, their Xbox Live account isn’t just a diversion, but a part of their life and identity. Opening up a major on video game designing today is similar to creating a film school in the 1940s or 50s. 2. This is good for the gaming world. The more ubiquitous we can make the design process, the greater the range of perspectives and approaches we’ll have in the creation of games. While the program is most assuredly full of geeks at the moment, taking the step to making video games into a major mainstreams the community just a little bit more. Whereas before the only people who did video games before were graphic designers and computer science majors who made the hard effort to learn to design games, I can now see it feasible that a slightly less-familiar-with-deep-geekery student could meet success in the field. I think that there’s a strong strain of incestuous and myopic behavior going on in video games, and if we can bring in non-geek or even jock-ish attitudes to the fold, all the better. 3. Other schools best hop in fast. Now there’s one, soon there will be 1,000 schools offering video game design as a joint degree between the CompSci and Art departments at their school. By my lights, the first schools will be branded as early-adopters and hip, a branding that takes years to lose or squander away. All the followers will have to scrum for their respect, those who put the low-risk investment into it early on will be rewarded. Of course, universities are run by slow-footed bovines, so this won’t happen.

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