Art of Game Design MFA

Impact Positive Change »

In a recent chat with one of LCAD’s  Art of Game Design MFA students, we rounded the topic on meaningful games and how today’s game designers can succeed in instilling the desire to create meaningful change and not just add coins to their pockets. We both agreed that students of LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design feel that success should be measured by both amplitude of original voices and by the standard metrics for success, like the bottom line.

The way the world views games and gamers today has changed profoundly since the early days of video games and their associated stigmas. We now know that games have the power to change lives in positive ways, in ways that can help create a better understanding of issues from health to how we view our places in society. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune, by John Keilman, revolved around teenagers whose lives have been connected with games since an early age. One of the young men interviewed by Keilman, Noah Bakshis (age 15) said,

“(Games) helped me discover what my inner ethics are, what choices I would make in particular situations.” “What I’ve found is I generally try to resolve things peacefully.” “You can grow emotional attachment to the characters, and that’s not a bad thing. It proves they can give humanization to a bunch of polygons.”

2018 Art of Game Design, MFA Candidate Jason Oualline is currently working on his thesis project The Cursed Quest which is is a single player isometric fantasy role-playing game based on Arthurian Legend that focuses on moral and social skill development.

Jason states: “Games are absolutely the driving force for education in the future, and games have played a part in education for a long time. You can look back at games like Oregon Trail, Math Blasters, and vocabulary-based Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy style games. I have been in education for fifteen years and teachers have been trying to turn things into games for as long as I can remember. Recently though within the last decade or two, more and more studios have started seeing the education market as one that is not as saturated or competitive as the mainstream one. They have started to see the value in educational and serious games. While the education system is pushing for gamification, there are still a vast number of educators that don’t see the true potential of games. There are so many other games on the market already that are not ‘meant’ to be educational but are.”

For future students Jason states:

“Well done is better than well said.” I’ve always been raised under the premise of, “If you are going to do something, do it right!” Work hard, pay attention to the details, and make sure that you can be proud of what you do. I was a good teacher, but now, because of this program, I am an even better teacher. Learning should be a lifelong habit. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you are in your present career, continuing your education and becoming better at your craft or simply expanding your mind should always be a goal. This MFA program will help people interested in game development do just that.”

It has been said many times and in many ways, but I still feel strongly that it takes each of us, in some small way, to be the change. In LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design, you can make meaningful changes in large and lasting ways. Because games have mattered, do matter, and will continue to matter.


The application deadline for LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design has been extended to May 01, 2018.