New Video Game Class Launches

Andrew Demirjian, a specialist professor of communication, is creating a new year-long video game class that will combine the skills and expertise of students from the computer science, software engineering, music, art, and communication majors, among other fields of study. Starting in the 2015-16 academic school year, the class is designed mainly for seniors, or those who have completed all of their general education requirements and have more than 87 credits, but can fulfill some last minute requirements before graduation.

The first half of the course, for the fall semester, is a theory class that will focus on the critical, theoretical, and aesthetic issues in video games. Titled “Critical Play: Theories and Aesthetics of Video Games,” this class will fulfill the ISP (Interdisciplinary Perspectives) requirement at Monmouth. During the Critical Play class, students will have the opportunity to apply these ideas in order to develop the concept, a script, and a storyboard for a new game that they will create.

The second half of the course, completed in the spring, will be spent producing the code and media for the game, creating cut scenes, music, 3D models, and more. This portion of the class will be an independent study where students work together to develop their own video game. There are different course options for each major, such as CO399 or 499, AR 410 or 499, MU 499, and CS 490, but they all lead to doing the same project, just with different tasks pertaining to their skills. 

This part of the class will also count towards the Interactive Media (IM) minor. The end goal of the entire course is to publicly distribute and market a video game that puts Monmouth University on the map. Professor Demirjian said that he is looking to establish a novel version of the Music Department’s Blue Hawk Records, but for video games.

In an interview with HawkTV’s “The Save Point,” Professor Demirjian told host John Guth, “We’re trying to simulate real world experiences for you guys to have to develop your portfolio and to be able to work in teams with software engineers and computer scientists to really make something cool that you can be proud of.” 

He is excited about taking students from “departments that don’t really get to work together” and combining their talents for the project, as he spent a year trying to figure out how to bring different people together in one place.

“Any way that you can get involved, we’d love to have you on board,” he added.

Student gamers on campus are very excited about getting to learn more about one of their favorite hobbies, especially with the opportunity to transition from player to developer. videogames2

Chris Chinn, a junior studying communication (Radio/TV), said,  “I think it’s going to open the doors for gamers to learn more about what they love most. It will also give students an opportunity to be more creative outside the realms they are used to.”

Patrick Hall, another junior communication student, had similar sentiments about the new video game class. “It’s hard to say how it will turn out at this point, but based on my impressions, it sounds like a really good experience for any student who is considering a career in any aspect of game designing. As a hardcore gamer, I have come to realize that a lot of work goes into building a game, coming from theatrical, cinematic, and artistic backgrounds, as well as technological and mathematical ones.”

“Truth be told, I cannot program a game to save my life, but I am excited because there is still a place for me in this course.” Hall went on to say that he feels “this is a step in the right direction, as it brings people closer together to work on a professional project with real rewards and experiences,” Hall added.

Rahmonn McMillan, a sophomore art major with a focus on animation, said, “I think that incorporating video games and the like into contemporary education can be beneficial for many reasons, whether or not the student is pursuing a career in video games.”

“Classes like this bring schools into the 21st century. Getting to see how things work is very special experience, and I’m glad to see that it is available at Monmouth,” McMillan added.

The Critical Play theory course will be available starting Fall 2015, followed by the production course in the spring.

To register for the independent study or to ask any questions, Professor Demirjian can be reached at his Monmouth email, Happy gaming!