When I tell people that I’m getting a master’s degree in Game Design, I get one of two reactions, without fail. The first is the most pleasing: their eyes open up and they exclaim how the world is a much happier place now that students can receive degrees in games.
“You’re in school, now?”
“Yeah, I’m getting my Master’s in Game Design.”
“Oh, wow! That’s really cool. I play games all the time on my [insert mobile device of choice].”
If this person is a parent, the next question usually involves their children and how I would advise them to play videogames.
The other reaction I get is confusion.
“So, what are in school for?”
“I’m getting a Master’s in Game Design.”
“Wait, so you’re getting a degree in videogames?”
“Well, not really. It’s everything: history, design, programming, art, digital and traditional…”
“Oh, so you’re learning how to code? That’s a booming industry right now, that’s really good.”
To most people I have talked to who are older than, say, thirty-five, Game Design equals a subdiscipline of Computer Science. Each time I talk school with someone who has a layman’s understanding of games it’s like teaching a crash course in media literacy. No, there’s a lot more to Game Design than sitting in front of a screen and punching keys till someone can shoot generic guerilla militants or launch birds at things. Foursquare, Chess, and Golf are games, too, by the way.
Anyone who has studied a design practice—art, engineering, architecture, writing, fashion—should understand the premise of a game design program. But, I guess that’s asking for a bit much. When someone says they’re a doctor, I doubt I know any more about what that entails than the guy standing next to me. Ironically, telling someone that I have a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts is much less specific than Game Design, yet the universal response is, “Alright,” or “Oh, okay.”
“So you learned how to program when you were in undergrad?”
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