New York University, responsible for educating young minds about everything from viral hoaxes to bespoke 3D penis art to highbrow sidewalk music criticism, has added a new degree to its repertoire: video games.
Though you may recall your boyfriend and his fraternity brothers studying something similar in college, this particular major isn't so much about pummeling pixelated football players or using large firearms to gun down ghosts while imbibing cases of Keystone Light. There also probably won't be any theses unpacking Princess Toadstool and the patriarchy of Mario (hi, Gender Studies majors!)
Instead, the program—helmed by the Tisch School of Arts' NYU Game Center—focuses on game design. The school recently began offering game design as an MFA program, with its first class of graduates receiving their degrees this past May; an undergraduate program will kick off this January, according to the Times, and incoming freshmen will have an opportunity to apply for the major in the fall of 2015. The program will teach students "the significance of game design as not only a potential career but as a way of thinking about the world," Game Center director Frank Lantz told the paper.
NYU won't be the first school to teach courses on game design, joining universities like Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University of Southern California and Dartmouth College. But Lantz tells us NYU's program differs from some of the other universities by looking at game design as an art, and not strictly a science or software study.
"We really see games as form of culture," Lantz said, likening game design study to that of literature, music or film, in addition to its relationship with computation and engineering. "It's not that we don't recognize that, that's part of what our students are learning and skills they're building. But primarily for us, it is form of culture, a form of expression and creating ideas and works people engage with that can be meaningful, and beautiful and entertaining."
Note that entry-level game designers can earn between $50,000 and $80,000 annually, proving once and for all that your student loan payments would make better use as part of a ceremonial pyre comprised of used Faulkner books and your Creative Writing diploma.