Video game art history

Aaron Lynch

So you think you know a lot about games? Prove it. The NYU Game Center is accepting applications for its inaugural MFA program, a two-year Master’s in Game Design that allows students to focus their efforts on one of four categories: game design, programming, criticism or visual design.

On February 17th, the Game Center released a practice exam for the public to test game history knowledge using real questions from the Games 101 midterm exam. Games 101 is the MFA’s foundational class about digital and analog games.

The focus of Games 101 is game literacy – to build a shared understanding of the history of games, culturally and aesthetically. The class incorporates lectures, discussion, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games in order to better understand and appreciate them. In many ways it resembles an art history survey course for games as a creative form.

When taking the test, I was shocked at the level of detail in the questions as well as the variety of games represented.  The questions led me to believe the class would resemble a video game art history class, where important facts include: the release date, the lead designer/creator, the gaming console it was released on, and its genre classification.

Overall, I got a 50 percent on the test. Womp womp. However, if this test is any indication of the planned curriculum for the Master’s program, I might need to start getting my portfolio ready for 2013.

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