Game Design Education Starts

I am very excited: the new game MA students  starts at next Monday at our department. At spring we selected five students from 24 applicants. In addition, we will have five students from the School of Technology taking part to the selected courses.

I have been busy to take care of various things such as booking teachers, designing courses and so. And I have still loads of things to do, but things start to take shape.

Our first game specific course is Game Design. The course will start with workshop focusing to gameplay design. Petri Ikonen from Digital Chocolate and I will be teaching. After that the course continues with lectures. Mikko Rautalahti (Remedy) will talk about narrative design, Petri Ikonen about level design for casual games, Jussi Holopainen (NRC, co-author of the book Patterns in Game Design) about game design & design patterns. I will probably talk about some general thing about game design and possibly about character-driven game design (if I am not able to get a level designer to talk about level design from some other angle than Petri Ikonen).

We continue with  the Game Analysis and Game Project at the autumn (Game Projects ends at the end of spring). At the spring we have planned lectures about role-playing games by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros (if we have money for this) that would be a part of the course Understanding Games (an exam or lectures about role-playing and exam). The spring ends with workshop Gameplay Evaluation.

The course Game Analysis consist of small analysis exercises in which we look at board and classic arcade games using different conceptual (and theoretical) tools and try to understand how the games work. In addition, participants write an essay about a game using these tools introduced during the course. The materials of this course include chapter 4 from Järvinen (2008) Games without Frontiers. I have earlier used also chapter about cybernetic system from Salen & Zimmerman’s Rules of Play and my essay Goals, Affects, and Empathy, but I might choose some other texts instead.

The exam Understanding Games include the book Tavinor (2009) The Art of Video Games. 2009 and two books from the following list (the lectures on rpgs can be taken instead of a book):
•    Juul (2005) Half-Real
•    King & Krzywinska (2006) Tomb Raiders & Space Invaders
•    Perron (ed. 2009) Horror Video Games
•    Perron & Wolf (eds. 2009) The Video Game Theory Reader 2
•    Sigart (2009) The Ethics of Computer Games.

The second year continues with the game courses Advanced Topics in Game Design, Game Research Project, and MA Thesis Seminar as well as with MA Thesis.

In parallel within these two years, there will be obligatory courses of MA in new Media. These courses include Understanding Media and Design (5 ECTS), New Media Exam (1 ECTS), Software Studies for Media Designers (3 ECTS), Media Art and Culture (3 ECTS) as well as possibility to take other new media courses or complement the studies at the department of Media Technology etc

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