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Course content

About the course

The video game industry is a vastly growing sector in both the UK and worldwide and the need for highly skilled and educated individuals is in high demand across the globe. With Brunel’s Digital Games Theory and Design MA programme, individuals will engage in, and experiment with, practical game design focussing on the process of devising the gameplay experience itself, including (but not limited to) the creation of rules, gameplay mechanics, narrative, world design and user experience, among many other aspects that make up the art of game design.

Coupled with a theoretical underpinning that focuses on the formal characteristics of games and analysis as well as the social and cultural contexts that shape the development of games, players, and society, this exciting programme offers students the opportunity to develop a range of skills that are required for success in today’s competitive job market.

Our programme is staffed with seasoned games designers and internationally published scholars who bring with them an extensive understanding of the nature of the video game industry, the importance of networks and the need for scholarly engagement in order to create innovative games for the future.

Aims

You will gain a comprehensive and sophisticated understanding of the advanced academic study of digital games and the techniques and principles used in their design.

You will be provided with the relevant expertise, teaching and learning environment to support your critical and creative engagement with issues at the cutting edge of analysing and designing digital games. You will contribute to the process of defining ‘game studies’ as a new academic discipline.

You will develop skills and knowledge to gain employment in the digital games industry and make contributions to the development of innovative games that go beyond current markets.

You will acquire the skills necessary to undertake doctoral level research.

Course Content

The MA consists of compulsory modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Each module will have a range of assessments; some practical, others written.

Game Design 1 (term 1, 30 credits) - practical group design projects (small); written evaluative case study 2000 words; assessed presentation

Critical Approaches (term 1, 30 credits) - 2 x 3000 word essays

Game Design 2 (term 2, 30 credits) - 1 x practical design project tailored to a specific platform (large); written evaluative case study 3000 words; assessed presentation

Socio-Cultural Contexts (term 2, 30 credits) (1 x 6000 word essays)

Dissertation in Digital Games Design: Theory and Design - either 12,000-18,000 words or 8,000 words with practical component - delivered in either digital format or as a design document (term 3, 60 credits)

Students are expected to use the MA forum for discussions and are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular support activities such as game jams, local game related and networking events in order to practice the creative and technical skills developed throughout the programme and foster conversation and connections that are an invaluable part of the post-graduate experience.

Special Features

Students will engage in, and experiment with, practical games creation, with workshops led by designers working in the industry, as well as explore a range of theories and concepts with which to analyse the values of games, play and pleasure.

This programme offers a unique focus on practical games design, informed by theory that is not offered by any other university. It is not a software or graphics training programme.

We have a team of experienced games researchers teaching on the programme, some of whom have played a pioneering role in making game studies a new academic discipline.

Assessment

Assessment is via a combination of practical games-making work, presentations and essays of varying length.

Visit the Digital Games Theory and Design - MA page on the Brunel University London website for more details!

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