You call *that* a weird course?

October 5th, 2008

Over on the UMBC GAIM Blog, Marc Olano wrote about UMBC Art 380, a required class in our game track that was in the Baltimore Sun’s Weird 101: Baltimore’s unusual college courses.

History and Theory of Games @ University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

Students attempting to break into the gaming industry take a lot of atypical ­— and very technical — classes, but this is a class everyone can wrap their head around. “Games are as old as people. They are what humans do, when they can,” said professor Neal McDonald. “It’s a serious, interesting, rapidly maturing field of scholarship.” This guy has the best job ever. McDonald plays a myriad of games, some dating back to the Stone Age, to show his budding game designers the origins of today’s games and the infinite possibilities for tomorrow’s.

Somehow I don’t think this class belongs on the list, which includes local courses like The Art of Juggling, The Theology of Eating, The British Invasion, and Fitness for Scuba Divers.

But maybe this is just my bias as a computer scientist. We see the game industry as a very practical business and one that will need a constant flow of better computer science technology to evolve and thrive. Moreover, advances in nearly all areas of computer science are needed, e.g., graphics, AI, HCI, parallel computing, software engineering, distributed computing, social networking, etc.

Besides, I’m pretty well schooled in The British Invasion as it is. Actually, the course on The Theology of Eating does sound pretty interesting.