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GameCareerGuide Feature - Game Curricula: Differences in Focus

Confused about the different kinds of game curricula offered at colleges and universities today? Game prof Lewis Pulsipher sorts out the three major types in Gam
Confused about the different kinds of game curricula offered at colleges and universities today? Game prof Lewis Pulsipher sorts out the three major types in GameCareerGuide's latest feature article. Says Pulsipher, "There seems to be a lot of confusion -- some of it deliberate, unfortunately -- about several categories of academic programs devoted to games. I'm going to try to describe the differences between 'game studies,' 'game development/production,' and 'game design.'" The problem is compounded by the fact that some schools take multiple different courses with different goals and roll them together into one program, sometimes even with a misleading or ambiguous title. Still, the three major distinctions are useful, and in the feature, Pulsipher spells them out, clearly and precisely: "Game studies people ponder; game developers and game designers do. As with many academic disciplines, then, game studies can ultimately illuminate how games can be improved, but its effects on game creation are indirect and distant rather than direct. If you want to actually make games, 'game studies' is not where you want to be." There's also practical info: "So how do you as a prospective student tell what's really happening? First, find descriptions of the required classes. Often this will be enough. If most of the required classes involve programming, it doesn't matter whether the school calls it "game design", it's about programming. If most of the required classes are art/3D courses, it's not game design, it's game art. If most of the classes involve studying and analyzing games rather than designing, programming, and doing art for games, then it's game studies, not game development." You can read the entire feature, Game Curricula: Differences in Focus, published today on Gamasutra's education-focused sister site, GameCareerGuide.com.

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