Major: Game and Interactive Media Design

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Quick: How many people do you know who play video games? Do you have a killer at-home gaming system -- how about your six-year-old cousin? Exactly. One of the world’s fastest growing industries, video games contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year.

Of course, video games have come a long way since the days of Ms. Pacman; in this major, you’ll learn what it takes to fully immerse users in a virtual world. You’ll study 3-D computer animation, digital sound and design, and learn how to develop stories and characters for your games through writing and psychology classes. Eventually, you’ll begin writing advanced computer code and explore fields like artificial intelligence to create games that “think” on their own and even predict their human players’ next move.

Students in this field combine advanced animation techniques and computer programming skills to create video games and interactive media programs.

Did You Know?

Video games are increasingly being used as learning tools. In DimensionM, an educational video game, players use math skills to complete missions and advance to the next level of play.

Are You Ready To...?

  • Design an interactive portfolio
  • Spend long nights in the lab, testing and troubleshooting
  • Work with other students on team projects
  • Create your own electronic games
  • Learn the latest game software programs
  • Study the history of game design

It Helps To Be...

As creative as you are computer savvy. A sense of humor is also important: games are supposed to be fun, after all.

College Checklist

  • Does the program offer a B.A., B.S., or B.F.A. (bachelor of fine arts)?
  • Does the program offer a stand-alone major, or is it a concentration within the art or computer science major?
  • Does the program focus more on art and design or programming and development, or does it strike a balance between the two?
  • Can you choose an area of concentration, such as animation or programming?
  • Are instructors industry professionals?
  • Check out the facilities. Are labs equipped with cutting-edge game software and computer-game-playing stations?
  • Is there an internship program or other opportunities for real-world experience?
  • What are recent grads doing now?

Did You Know?

When an MIT student and his buddies created the first interactive computer game in 1962, technology was so limiting that they used text characters to create graphics.

Course Spotlight

It takes a team to create the many different elements of a successful new game, as you'll learn firsthand in game design and development, a commonly required course. Though you may start out with an overview of game history, you’ll quickly move into the nitty-gritty of concept development and production. The end result could be a preliminary design document for a game or the actual finished product. Either way, the emphasis is on collaborating with your teammates, the way they do it in the business world.