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NYU Founds New Center for Digital Games

New York University has announced a new Center for Digital Games, which will unite several game-related courses and game-focused instructors in one multidisciplinary place. Its long-term goal is to offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in game stu
New York University has announced it has founded the NYU Game Center, an academic initiative for the research, design, and development of digital games. Prior, game studies at NYU were spread out over more than 70 courses and instructors across multiple disciplines in different departments. The new center will allow the faculty, who come from computer science, engineering, new media theory, and the arts, to collaborate more cohesively. According to an official statement, the long-term goal of the new NYU Game Center is to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees. Beginning this spring, the Center will offer a series of talks and panel discussions that will be open to the public and featuring leading game designers. In fall 2009, it will offer undergraduate courses to 10 to 12 students a year who may choose a minor, major or double major. Graduate courses are slated for fall 2010. Approximately six graduate students a year will be admitted to the two-year master’s program or certificate program. The Center has been initially funded with an anonymous gift of $1 million and a $200,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund, a new initiative that supports creative engagement with the issues shaping the City’s creative future. At present, the Center’s will be located in the Skirball Center for New Media in the Tisch School of the Arts. The NYU Game Center’s interim director is Frank Lantz, adjunct assistant professor in the Tisch School’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, while an advisory committee is conducting its search for a director. Lantz, a game designer who has worked in the field of game development for 20 years, is also creative director and co-founder of the game development firm area/code. He has taught game design at NYU, the School of Visual Arts, and the New School (Parsons). His writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications. A related effort, the Games for Learning Institute, was launched in October 2008 with $1.5 million in funding from Microsoft. The Institute will provide the fundamental scientific evidence to support the potential of games as learning tools for math and science subjects among middle-school students. “Digital games are becoming more and more a part of our mainstream culture the world over,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, dean of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. “Not only are they enormously popular, but the appeal of digital games cuts across all ages and gender. The Tisch School is proud to participate with Steinhardt, Courant, and NYU Poly in this important initiative to establish a multi-school center for game study and development. ” David W. McLaughlin, provost of NYU, said “Modern video games are, at heart, cross-disciplinary creations that draw on talents from across a university community: mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers, artists, dramatic writers. The mission of the NYU Game Center, to be sure, will be to produce the next generation of game designers, entrepreneurs, and researchers, and to advance the science, technology, and practice of gaming through research; beyond that, we also look to this new center as a laboratory for innovation, intellectual risk-taking, and cross-disciplinary collaborations.” The Center is a partnership between several NYU schools and affiliates: the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences; the Polytechnic Institute of NYU; the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and the Tisch School of the Arts.

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