Game Studies and Design (GSD) minor

A minor in Game Studies and Design (GSD) consists of 18 credit hours. The following five courses are required of all students in order to successfully complete the minor (15 hours):

  • GSD 210 History of Games
  • GSD 225 Survey of Modern Games
  • GSD 301 Game Design Workshop I
  • GSD 302 Game Design Workshop II
  • Math 202 Mathematics of Games

Students choosing this minor will also select at least one course from the following (3+ hours):

  • English 301 Special Topics: Technical Writing
  • English 361 Creative Writing
  • ENG 489 Technical and Professional Writing
  • GSD 295 Special Topics*
  • GSD 395 Special Topics*
  • Math 295 Special Topics: Mathematics of Chess
  • Marketing 351 Principles of Marketing
  • Philosophy 300 Special Topics: The Aesthetics of Games and the Ethics of Gaming
  • Sociology 303 Special Topics: Sociology of Games
  • Theatre 318 Costume Design

*GSD 295 and GSD 395 may be repeated if the topics are different

Core Courses

GSD 210, History of Games: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: An exploration of the history of games from ancient times to modern day.
Course Overview: An exploration of the history of games from ancient times to modern day. This course spans from ancient times until the early- to mid-1900s. It is the first semester in a two-semester study of games. The second semester, A Survey of Modern Games, will pick up the study of games in the mid-1900s until the present. In this course, students will examine the long-running global history of games. To this end, students will learn to play historically important games, explore the cultural backgrounds and significance of games and study the evolution of their mechanics and design.

GSD 225, Survey of Modern Games: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: A study of popular world games and game franchises from the 20th and 21st centuries examining and critiquing their impact, technique, design, and style. Includes regular game play.
Course Overview: This course will study innovative world games, game corporations, and game franchises from the 20th and 21st centuries, examining and critiquing their impact, technique, design and style. This course will primarily focus on video games, particularly innovative video games which may or may not be commercial successes. In this course, students will examine the global history of video games from inception to the future uses of games. To this end, students will analyze historically and culturally important video games, as well as the evolution of their mechanics and design.

GSD 301, Game Design Workshop I: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: This class will introduce students to the fundamentals of game design, including the basic principles of card, board, role playing, and video games. Topics will include concept and design elements as students begin developing their own games. Prerequisites: ENG 101, 102; MATH 147 or 202 or 247 or consent of instructor. Corequisite: GSD 210.
Course Overview: The workshop will introduce students to the fundamentals of game design, which will be applicable to a variety of games including card, board, role-playing and video games. Topics will include concept and design elements that will continue from this workshop through to the second workshop in the spring. By the end of this workshop, students will be familiar with the theoretical foundation of game design, and will also be comfortable enough in processes to start designing their own games, as well as critically analyze other people’s games.

GSD 302, Game Design Workshop II: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: A continuation of GSD 301, with an emphasis on play testing and development. Students will develop a body of work suitable for a portfolio that will include at least one finished product. Prerequisite: GSD 301.
Course Overview: This course provides students with a theoretical and conceptual understanding of the field of game design, along with practical exposure to the process of creating a game. The second workshop will build on students’ knowledge of the fundamentals of game design. Topics will include concept and design elements that will continue from the previous workshop.  This course is meant to be the second semester in a two semester workshop, and cannot be taken alone.

Math 202, Mathematics of Games: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Introduction to various mathematics concepts as they apply to games. This will include counting techniques, probability, decision trees, and an introduction to game theory. Prerequisite: MATH 144 or higher.
Course Overview:  This class is divided into two primary topics. The first part of this course deals with probabilities, primarily those involved with various card games and dice games. Expected values will also be covered. The second portion of this course deals with problems in Game Theory. Numerous combinatorial games will be discussed as well as their optimal strategies. In addition, Grundy numbers and decision trees will be covered in detail.

Optional Courses

English 301, Special Topics in Language and Literature: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: One-time course in any of various non-traditional topics. Open to non-majors.

English 361, Creative Writing: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Guided workshop in poetry and creative prose, including short fiction and life writing. This course introduces and emphasizes the basic elements of creative writing across genres: narrative, image, and voice among them. Limited enrollment. Prerequisite: ENG 101 and 102. Course may be repeated for credit (as topic changes) for a maximum of 6 hours.

GSD 295, Special Topics: 1–3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Topics will be announced prior to registration. Topics vary. Course may be repeated for credit as topic changes.

GSD 395, Special Topics: 1–3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Topics will be announced prior to registration. Topics vary. Course may be repeated for credit as topic changes.

ENG 489, Technical and Professional Writing: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: In this course you will learn a rhetorical approach to producing technical documents, which can range from instruction manuals to research reports. Poised at the intersection of games and technical writing, the central focus for this course will be on the development process of games as it relates to specialized documentation. By using the gaming industry to instruct technical and professional writing practices, this course promotes rhetorical approaches, assessments, and judgments that are part of an effort to move technical and professional writing to a position that encourages holistic thinking and sustainable practice as part and parcel of this kind of writing.

Math 295, Special Topics in Mathematics: Mathematics of Chess: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Topic will be announced prior to registration. Topics vary. Course may be repeated for credit as topic changes. Prerequisite: A grade of C or better in MATH 170.

Marketing 351, Principles of Marketing: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Description and analysis of institutions and operations needed to create and coordinate market transactions involving consumers, commerce, industry, and government. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

Philosophy 300, Special Topics in Philosophy: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: In-depth study of a topic in philosophy, through individual or small-group sessions, with assigned readings. Prerequisite: A 100- or 200-level PHIL course or equivalent, or consent of instructor.
Course Overview: In this course students will confront the many difficult questions that arise when philosophers examine the values of games and gaming to our lives. We will approach these questions from the perspective of art and aesthetics as well as the perspective of ethics and morality.

Sociology 303, Selected Topics in Sociology: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Topics vary. Course may be repeated for credit as often as topic changes.

Theatre 318, Costume Design I: 3 credit hours

Catalog Description: Introduction to the process of rendering costumes for period and contemporary plays. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
Undergraduate Research in Game Studies and Design is also available on an individual basis.