I love that quote above from Frank Lantz, director of the New York University Game Center, and I’m intrigued by the rise of university programs in video game design:
Recess, the word for the school period set aside for games, means a break in the action. But here at the New York University Game Center, where the library collection includes about 5,000 video games, play has elbowed its way into the classroom itself. Last month, the first graduates of a new M.F.A. program in game design at N.Y.U. received their degrees.
The Game Center is part of the Tisch School of the Arts, meaning that game design is taught alongside theater, film, television and all the rest. Next fall, the school expects to add a bachelor of fine arts degree in the field.
“At least professionally, I feel like a much better version of what I was a year ago,” said Charles George, a former website developer who entered the M.F.A. program last year to accelerate a long-delayed plan to make games for a living. “It’s always been, â€˜In the future, I’m going to work on games,’ ” he said. “And all of a sudden, I’m 30 and my wife is pregnant.”
This New York Times article focuses on graduate programs, but during the past couple of years — while I was working on Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet — I became aware of a couple of programs in my home state that aren’t focused solely on post-graduate work.
As the article points out, master’s degrees in gaming don’t come cheap. And the same often goes for bachelor’s degrees. When I visit schools to discuss Attack! Boss! Cheat Code!, it’ll be interesting to see how students fall into the various camps of non-gamer, casual gamer, serious gamer, and serious-to-the-tune-of-a-$100,000-degree gamer.