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Game Studies Minor

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate minor

The Game Studies minor is a 16-credit program that gives students insight into the cultures, ethics, and writing in and around video games. This minor is for students interested in learning how the video games function as rhetorical, technical, symbolic, and interactive medium that influences much of our world.

Video games have quickly become the most lucrative and influential entertainment media, as well as an enormous powerhouse in the technology industry. Gaining a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between the games industry, game designers, games themselves, and players is crucial to an understanding of how video games, and all technologies, have and will continue to impact our lives.

This program will:

  • Contextualize the creation and distribution of video games and their complex cultural influences
  • Focus on writing for video games, including narrative, character creation, storytelling, and dialogue
  • Explore the historical and socio-cultural influence of video games and technology in society
  • Offer ethical, political, social, and cultural knowledge and context for those who play, study, or make games

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Course requirements

Requirements (16 credits)

Required (12 credits)

MDST 363 Children, Adolescents and the Media

4 credits

This course examines the influence of television, radio, film and new media on children and the family. Students discuss the unique production considerations involved when producing a media program for children and explore the research on media literacy, media violence, advertising, education, online privacy, gender roles, new technology and the child's response to programming. Includes critical viewing of media programs produced for children on broadcast and cable television, video, radio, computer, feature films, video games as well as international programs for children.

Full course description for Children, Adolescents and the Media

TCID 381 Video Game Culture

4 credits

This course focuses on the myriad of cultures that surround video games, the largest entertainment industry and a powerful, influential social medium. Because of games' role in both reflecting and creating cultural norms, they are a rich source for investigating the ways interactive and immersive technologies influence cultural and social perspectives. In this course, students will learn the history and evolution of video games, explore values in play, analyze gaming communities, and discover ways to think and interrogate the games industry through a critical lens. This course is part of the Game Studies Minor core.

Full course description for Video Game Culture

TCID 383 Writing For Video Games

4 credits

In this course, students will learn how to write narrative, stories, and dialogue for video games. Video game writing is a unique kind of writing in the sense that dialogue and other visual-written feedback changes depending on the input of the player. By learning a writing for games style grounded in character creation, episodic structure, and dialogue, students in this course will learn the skills to become excellent game writers. Careers writing for video games, sometimes called game designers, are gaining in popularity and importance. In this unit, students will gain the background necessary to successfully write for video games and the video game industry. This course is part of the Game Studies Minor core.

Full course description for Writing For Video Games

Electives (4 credits)

Electives in addition to this list may be approved by the Game Studies advisor.

GNDR 270 Gender, Race and Popular Culture

3 credits

Our ideas about race and gender shape and are shaped by popular media such as the internet, music, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and the arts. In this course, students will investigate how pop-culture industries represent race and gender in ways that create and reinforce systematic gender and racial privilege. The course also focuses on contributions to pop culture by marginalized groups and women in order to study self-representation, critiques of mainstream tropes of race and gender, and the subversion of hierarchies of privilege and power. Considerable content is geared toward the intersectional study of race and racism with gender and sexism. The course explores theories treating gender and race as social constructs (that interact with each other, and with other aspects of identity) at an introductory degree of complexity suitable for a non-specialist, lower-level course.

Full course description for Gender, Race and Popular Culture

HIST 305 U.S. Economic Life: Technology

4 credits

This course investigates the changes in American economic life from the late eighteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on how technological developments have influenced these changes. Students explore the major technological innovations and their diffusion and impact, the social institutions that influenced and were influenced by these changes, and the ramifications of technological and social change upon the everyday material life of Americans.

Full course description for U.S. Economic Life: Technology

HUM 313 Medieval Civilization

4 credits

In this course, students study achievements in thought, art, architecture, religion, science and politics during the Middle Ages, the period between the collapse of Roman civilization (c. 500 A.D.) and its "rebirth" in the Renaissance about a thousand years later. Students read a selection of medieval texts in translation and examine a range of medieval arts and ideas.

Full course description for Medieval Civilization

HUM 321 Myth

4 credits

Myths and myth cycles have had a deep and pervasive influence on literature and culture, and thus on everyday life. This course examines the nature of myth and the modes of belief that have sustained it within various traditions, the myths themselves, their expression in literature from ancient to modern times, and theories of interpretation. The selection varies among Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Celtic and Germanic myth traditions, along with comparative material from other world traditions.

Full course description for Myth

HUM 327 Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

2-4 credits

This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culture from 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.

Full course description for Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

LIT 327 The Fairy Tale

4 credits

The fairy tale is a genre that seems simple, but actually reveals many of modern literatures earliest and deepest conventions. This course explores the fairy tales structures, characters, uses of narrative, and its employment of the idea of magic to explain Western ideas and debates about social order. Students will also learn a number of cultural theories that are commonly applied to the analysis of fairy tales, and how the change from the folk tale to the fairy tale gives important context to today's understanding of fiction and its uses.

Full course description for The Fairy Tale

MDST 485 Communicating with New Media

4 credits

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to effectively promote and advocate for events, organizations, or issues using a variety of social media and multi-media. Students will combine online writing (or blogging) with other forms of social networking and media (wikis, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Twitter) to build a comprehensive online initiative promoting a timely and relevant issue or event either of their choosing or provided by the instructor. Students will increase their knowledge of online rhetoric, audience research, planning for media events, script or treatment writing, and evaluation of communication programs.

Full course description for Communicating with New Media

MDST 490 Big Data and the Connected Citizen

4 credits

As consumers of media, citizens should be prepared to assess the messages they receive from sources such as social networks, broadcast, and other media. However, in contemporary society, consumers are also communicating information about themselves, most of which is harvested without their knowledge or understanding. This course prepares students to consider their position as communicators in an interconnected world, where the information they provide about themselves is stored, retrieved, analyzed and used to sell, promote, control, or otherwise influence citizen and consumer behavior.

Full course description for Big Data and the Connected Citizen

MDST 580 Impacts of Mediated Communication

4 credits

This course is concerned with the impact communication technologies have had and continue to have on human societies. The course begins with a brief examination of two technologies that have had a profound impact on how people think about communication. It looks at the background and impact of current technologies. And it also looks at new and emerging technologies - such as hypermedia, neural nets, virtual reality - speculating about how these technologies will change people in the near future and later in the twenty-first century.

Full course description for Impacts of Mediated Communication

THEA 400 Playwriting I

4 credits

Writing for the spoken word and for acting demands different skills than writing for the page. Develop your ear, your signature of voice, your sense of subtext. Through a variety of approaches, from improvisation to creative autobiography, students explore character, conflict and drama as metaphor. Writers with material they would like to explore or adapt for the stage are welcome. Expect to complete at least one short play.

Full course description for Playwriting I