Otago Daily Times

Uni to trial video game pathway in curriculum

- HAMISH MACLEAN hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

VIDEO games have been big business for years.

Now, increasing­ly, they are becoming a fixture in higher learning.

The University of Otago has confirmed plans to pilot two video game curriculum pathways in 2021.

This follows last month’s news a new video game training programme would become available at Otago Polytechni­c, thanks to an agreement between the Dunedinbas­ed New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (Code), Swedenbase­d company FutureGame­s and the polytechni­c.

A university spokesman confirmed this week both game developmen­t and game studies could become named major and minor areas of study at the University of Otago in the future.

The game developmen­t pathway would consist of mostly existing courses in computer science and informatio­n science, creating the more ‘‘technicall­y oriented’’ of the two.

It could be analogous to the foundation­s of a computer science bachelor of science in game developmen­t.

The game studies pathway would focus on the study of ‘‘games as cultural, as well as technical, artefacts’’, the spokesman said.

The programme would take a theoretica­l, historical, educationa­l, and ‘‘even political’’ approach, he said.

This route for students would be comparably smaller, somewhat analogous to a “game studies” minor, he said.

It would include the developmen­t of a paper on creative writing for games and interactiv­e media through the department of English and linguistic­s.

At present, the first steps were being taken by the department­s of computer science, informatio­n science, and English and linguistic­s, but would include contributi­ons from a number of additional department­s.

For instance, in the Codealigne­d “Games for Health” focus, joint ventures with health sciences would be of central importance, the spokesman said.

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