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Ethical Game Design

About The Program

The Ethical Game Designer Certificate taps into industry and community demands to increase the diversity of characters in games as well as create more ethical gaming environments for players and game makers. Through this certificate, students will gain skills and abilities in balancing and adjusting gameplay, providing useful feedback, creating core game mechanics, critical thinking, devising compelling missions and challenges, keeping ideas fluent, and originality.

Student outcomes

  • Learn about theories of representation, intersectionality, race and racism, avatar creation, ethics, identity tourism, and character creation 
  • Create and develop gameplay elements such as characters, levels, dialogue, game lore, and so on ethically, reflectively, and for accessibility 
  • Engage in conducting thoughtful playtesting and providing useful feedback in game design teams

Courses and Requirements


Required Courses

This course explores the concept of race, racism, and identity in the games industry, games community, and game studies. Because of games' role in both reflecting and creating cultural, racial, and identity norms, they are a rich source for investigating the ways interactive and immersive technologies influence cultural and social perspectives. In this course, students explore topics through a lens of race such as the history and evolution of video games, values in play, avatar identity, visualizing racial characteristics, analyzing gaming communities, and interrogating racism in the game industry. Intersectionality is used to explore how race and racism impact digital and nondigital bodies. No prior programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Race and Identity in Video Games

In this course, students will learn strategies for analyzing and creating game worlds, levels, and characters that are consistent, compelling, and fluent. Students will focus on what makes compelling and engaging video game dialogue, settings, backstories, and more. This theory- and writing-focused course will let students create and/or expand on all the writing that goes into a good video game story as well as explore games as a humanistic field. There will be a particular focus on creating characters, stories, and scenes with an anti-racist perspective in response to the industry¿s history representing marginalized characters, stories, and lore. No programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Game, Level, and Character Design

This course is an introduction to Unity, one of the most important tools in the Game Industry. Students in this course will learn to create a game through visual scripting, the visual representation of programming logic that allows the game designer to create playable games without deep programming knowledge. Students will create games with the usability, disability, and varying ability levels of the user in mind. Some topics covered include flow and state graphs, live editing, debugging and analysis, nesting, reusability, and variables. This course assumes no prior programming knowledge.

Full course description for Game Design in Unity