BERKELEY – Citing the increasing cultural importance, inspiring complexity, and the popular acceptance of video games as an art form, Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks announced today that the University of California at Berkeley will begin offering an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Electronic Gaming History and Theory in Fall 2014.
“As the nation’s leading public research university with a strong tradition of being on the cutting edge, UC Berkeley is proud to lead the way again by offering a rigorous curriculum on the history and theory of the interactive arts,” said Dirks.
“Society can no longer relegate video games to anything less than what their creators have proven themselves to be: a true art form on equal footing with film and theatre, music and the visual arts.”
In a preliminary outline of the degree program, courses will include “The History of Side-Scrolling Games,” “Console Gaming in the 1980s and 1990s,” a survey course, and “Theories of Real-Time Strategy Games.” The anticipated program has already attracted a plethora of renowned designers to teach, including Will Wright (of SimCity fame), Sid Meier (lead designer of the Civilization series), and Tim Schafer (founder of Double Fine Productions and long-time designer at LucasArts).
“Game developers have created remarkable, interactive experiences which are shared and enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they have been doing so for decades,” emphasized Dirks. “Take the best selling game of 2013, Grand Theft Auto V – it has sold more than 33 million copies. It cannot be denied that the time to recognize video games as a mainstream subject of academic study, and to encourage students to dedicate themselves to their analysis, is long overdue.”
Although announcement of the new degree program has been greeted positively, at least one prospective student has already expressed doubts about the quality and integrity of the forthcoming program.
“While I like the idea, I’m gravely concerned over whether the standards for acceptance into the program will be high enough. I mean, are these classes even going to have any real gamers like me in them?” questioned local high schooler P.H. Crabbe. “I expect a totally serious program at every level, and it’ll be a huge problem if my classmates are not as absolutely committed and constantly serious as I am about talking about gaming every second of the day. Because if they’re not, they’re basically Nazis, and they must be shunned.”
“I will demand a certain level of, how you say, puri-TAY in these classes, and they have to make sure to keep out anyone who isn’t a real, serious gamer from the program, because to do otherwise would be an affront to intelligence itself.”
“Let me put it this way: anyone in those classes who isn’t always completely focused on seriously discussing video games and only video games – god forbid it’s ever anything else – just needs to kindly fuck off,” said Crabbe.
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