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Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Monarch Institute for Game Design and Development Launches At ODU

A graphic displaying the announcement for the launch of the Game Design and Development. Courtesy of ODU Arts and Letters Instagram @oduartsletters.

The Monarch Institute for Game Design and Development has been launched to accommodate the influx of students enrolled in the program at ODU. The institute will be located in Monarch Hall.

The College of Arts & Letters has offered a bachelor of science in game studies & design since 2019, when Dr. Kevin Moberly and Dr. Andrew Kissel, professors of English and philosophy respectively, successfully pitched the idea of the major.

Students can choose from two tracks: development & criticism and design & criticism. Development students learn how to write game codes, implement game mechanics, and produce animations. Design students learn elements of 3D art, 3D animation, and game writing. The program prepares students for careers as video game designers, directors, producers, artists, and animators.

Dr. Moberly highlights game criticism as an important part of both disciplines of the program. Criticism of existing games allows students to pinpoint what makes them work and what doesn’t, then use what they’ve observed to evolve their own work.

Matthew Beale, a professor who teaches an “Introduction to Game Studies” course, pointed out how popular the class is with students.

“[My classes] are usually full,” said Beale. “Even students who are not game design majors see the intro to game studies classes as an option for their technology requirement […] [they] see that as an interesting and enjoyable way to meet that requirement.”

With 17 students in fall 2019 and 160 students in fall 2022, game studies is a fast-growing major. Students of other majors are drawn to the classes offered within the program, and gaming is even one of the themed Living-Learning Communities located in Owens House. 

The answer was to expand the program by creating the Monarch Institute for Game Design and Development. According to Moberly, a big part of the reason the institute was created was to facilitate collaboration between the other departments on campus, including the departments of computer science, art, and music composition.

“The major is originally part of Interdisciplinary Studies. And that’s because games are fundamentally interdisciplinary constructs,” Moberly said.

Many game studies students have obtained internships at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC). The creation of the game studies institute will lead to more opportunities for students to gain experience within the gaming industry.

Moberly said that he created the major for the students who originally took his first game design and rhetoric class and said, “We came to ODU to make games.”

“We worked for five years to get a program,” Moberly said. “The institute is the next iteration of that.”

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About the Contributor
Ash F.J. Thomas
Ash F.J. Thomas, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Ash F.J. Thomas is an English major working as the Arts & Entertainment Editor. Ash likes to review the many artistic events and exhibitions at ODU and the general Norfolk area. Outside of the Mace & Crown, Ash is passionate about creative writing, theater, and gaming.

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