Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Higher Learning and Higher Gaming

When I was in school we didn't have no fancy fangled game journalism courses ... which is a shame because I'd have totally taken some if we had.

This entry will probably be on the short side, but is something that I'm very curious about and also happy to see.

This posting via Game Politics reveals that the University of Iowa is offering some video game based courses soon, the meat of the information is as follows:

"Students who enroll in a new video game-based narrative writing course at the University of Iowa beginning in the fall will get a chance to explore worlds, characters and plotlines popularized by video games. They'll also get credits. The course is called "Specialized Reporting & Writing, Video Games & Communication," and is a step by the university to add video games into the curriculum, though video-game education experts say that analyzing off-the-shelf commercial games isn't the typical approach taken by universities."

Although it's unlikely that I'll ever personally reap the benefits of such a thing this development has me very excited for a multitude of reasons: first and foremost it shows that video gaming as a social and cultural standpoint is coming along quite nicely. I wouldn't find it hard to believe that a university would have laughed the idea for a course like this under the table just ten years ago, perhaps even less. Now though talking about video games is seen as something you can make a career out of, and something that needs to be addressed in terms of offering education for it.

This brings me to my second point. When I began this blog I talked a little about how it's probably incredibly difficult to be a gaming journalist. Sure, you get to play games for a living, but there's so much more to it than that including looming deadlines, being able to gain and strengthen interpersonal relationships with people in the industry, learning how to say what needs to be said while trimming the fat. Having degrees based in English and especially Journalism are incredibly helpful tools, but of course until this point there hasn't really been a place for refinement and focus on what getting into the field would actually mean. This is a much needed first step in the right direction.

Video game schools aren't new, Digipen which offers things like Bachelor of Arts or Science in Game Design has been around for quite some time and been one of the best places to begin a foothold if you want a career creating games. When it comes to the related fields though there's been hide nor hair of much academic involvement until now (I may be wrong, feel free to send me examples if I am). So it just feels good that in the future you may be able to say "I want to be a gaming journalist" and then totally go to school for that reason and get a degree in it. Badass.

1 comment:

  1. Where I went Northwestern State University(NSU) in Louisiana they had started a game programming class during the summer term. No idea how involved it was as I didn't take it, but it was taught by the head of the programming department.

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