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About The Program

The Game Studies minor is a 16-credit program that gives students insight into the cultures, ethics, and writing in and around video games. This minor is for students interested in learning how the video games function as rhetorical, technical, symbolic, and interactive medium that influences much of our world.

Video games have quickly become the most lucrative and influential entertainment media, as well as an enormous powerhouse in the technology industry. Gaining a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between the games industry, game designers, games themselves, and players is crucial to an understanding of how video games, and all technologies, have and will continue to impact our lives.

This program will:

  • Contextualize the creation and distribution of video games and their complex cultural influences
  • Focus on writing for video games, including narrative, character creation, storytelling, and dialogue
  • Explore the historical and socio-cultural influence of video games and technology in society
  • Offer ethical, political, social, and cultural knowledge and context for those who play, study, or make games

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Game Studies Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Game Studies Minor

Courses and Requirements


Requirements (16 credits)

+ Required (12 credits)

This course is an introduction to the vast and interdisciplinary field of game studies and game design. Students in this course will explore how games can be art, math, story, identity, political systems, ethical systems and more. Topics covered may include the history of video and tabletop games; the current landscape of the video game industry; future projections for game industry; an introduction to Game and Narrative Design; toxicity in the games community; race, gender, and identity in games; game design schemas, and an intro to theories of interaction design. Students will demonstrate this knowledge through creating a paper prototype of a tabletop game as part of a development team. No programming knowledge assumed.

Full course description for Introduction to Game Design

This course explores the concept of race, racism, and identity in the games industry, games community, and game studies. Because of games' role in both reflecting and creating cultural, racial, and identity norms, they are a rich source for investigating the ways interactive and immersive technologies influence cultural and social perspectives. In this course, students explore topics through a lens of race such as the history and evolution of video games, values in play, avatar identity, visualizing racial characteristics, analyzing gaming communities, and interrogating racism in the game industry. Intersectionality is used to explore how race and racism impact digital and nondigital bodies. No prior programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Race and Identity in Video Games

In this course, students will learn strategies for analyzing and creating game worlds, levels, and characters that are consistent, compelling, and fluent. Students will focus on what makes compelling and engaging video game dialogue, settings, backstories, and more. This theory- and writing-focused course will let students create and/or expand on all the writing that goes into a good video game story as well as explore games as a humanistic field. There will be a particular focus on creating characters, stories, and scenes with an anti-racist perspective in response to the industry¿s history representing marginalized characters, stories, and lore. No programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Game, Level, and Character Design

In this course, students will learn the unique style of writing and storytelling used in an interactive environment. In this production-focused course, students will produce a video game (or slice of a video game), interactive story, or interactive website prototype by the end of the course. Students will focus on creating a continuity of experience across a system, writing compelling prompts, writing and thinking in decision trees, and anticipating audience input. Students will conduct usability testing/playtesting and revision of their constructed environments. No programming knowledge is assumed.

Full course description for Writing in Interactive Environments

This theory-based course dives into the role of fun, play, and games in society. Students will look at ancient theories of fun as well as learn about some of the earliest games ever played and examine their influence on modern games. Current tabletop and video games will also be analyzed by students through theories learned in class. Major topics covered may include: the magic circle, game rules, social games, definitions of fun and play, playing to order, edugames, serious games, chocolate-covered broccoli, cheating, spoilsports, variable ratio rewards, timed rewards, loot boxes, games for change, dark play, uncertainty, and more!

Full course description for Theories of Fun and Play

This course is an introduction to Unity, one of the most important tools in the Game Industry. Students in this course will learn to create a game through visual scripting, the visual representation of programming logic that allows the game designer to create playable games without deep programming knowledge. Students will create games with the usability, disability, and varying ability levels of the user in mind. Some topics covered include flow and state graphs, live editing, debugging and analysis, nesting, reusability, and variables. This course assumes no prior programming knowledge.

Full course description for Game Design in Unity

This production-focused course explores aspects of publishing, marketing, and sales that are crucial or unique to successful video and tabletop game launches. Topics covered include game-related marketing strategies such as: community building, crowdfunding, basic social media marketing, game pitches, gaming for good, indie studios, game journalism/ethics, review copy protocol, live game events, player sponsorship, and Twitch. Group work is a major part of this course, though exceptions can be given.

Full course description for Publishing and Selling Your Game

+ Electives (4 credits)

Electives in addition to this list may be approved by the Game Studies advisor.

This course examines conceptions and constructions of race in relation to the Internet as a multidimensional socio-cultural, economic, and political phenomenon, with a specific focus on the United States. Topics may include varied cultural histories and social impacts of the Internet; notions of identity on the Internet; race, embodiment, and disembodiment; social media, race, and racial controversy; electronic activism around race and racial identities on the Internet, and different theoretical approaches to understanding the unique socio-cultural dimensions of race and the internet. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism.

Full course description for Race, Identity, and the Internet

Our ideas about race and gender shape and are shaped by popular media such as the internet, music, television, film, newspapers, magazines, and the arts. In this course, students will investigate how pop-culture industries represent race and gender in ways that create and reinforce systematic gender and racial privilege. The course also focuses on contributions to pop culture by marginalized groups and women in order to study self-representation, critiques of mainstream tropes of race and gender, and the subversion of hierarchies of privilege and power. Considerable content is geared toward the intersectional study of race and racism with gender and sexism. The course explores theories treating gender and race as social constructs (that interact with each other, and with other aspects of identity) at an introductory degree of complexity suitable for a non-specialist, lower-level course.

Full course description for Gender, Race and Popular Culture

This course investigates the changes in American economic life from the late eighteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on how technological developments have influenced these changes. Students explore the major technological innovations and their diffusion and impact, the social institutions that influenced and were influenced by these changes, and the ramifications of technological and social change upon the everyday material life of Americans.

Full course description for U.S. Economic Life: Technology

In this course, students study achievements in thought, art, architecture, religion, science and politics during the Middle Ages, the period between the collapse of Roman civilization (c. 500 A.D.) and its "rebirth" in the Renaissance about a thousand years later. Students read a selection of medieval texts in translation and examine a range of medieval arts and ideas.

Full course description for Medieval Civilization

Myths and myth cycles have had a deep and pervasive influence on literature and culture, and thus on everyday life. This course examines the nature of myth and the modes of belief that have sustained it within various traditions, the myths themselves, their expression in literature from ancient to modern times, and theories of interpretation. The selection varies among Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Celtic and Germanic myth traditions, along with comparative material from other world traditions.

Full course description for Myth

This course explores the time period in medieval Spain when the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) coexisted somewhat peacefully and created together a rich, vibrant culture from 700-1492. "Convivencia" means "living together." We will examine the poetry, architecture, art, music, governance, and religious practices during this period: how a culture flourished, and how it fell apart. We'll also study how persecutions (including those against pagans), and the diasporas of Jews and Muslims out of Spain influenced these texts, structures, and practices.

Full course description for Convivencia: Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Arts in Medieval Spain

The fairy tale is a genre that seems simple, but actually reveals many of modern literatures earliest and deepest conventions. This course explores the fairy tales structures, characters, uses of narrative, and its employment of the idea of magic to explain Western ideas and debates about social order. Students will also learn a number of cultural theories that are commonly applied to the analysis of fairy tales, and how the change from the folk tale to the fairy tale gives important context to today's understanding of fiction and its uses.

Full course description for The Fairy Tale

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to effectively promote and advocate for events, organizations, or issues using a variety of social media and multi-media. Students will combine online writing (or blogging) with other forms of social networking and media (wikis, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Twitter) to build a comprehensive online initiative promoting a timely and relevant issue or event either of their choosing or provided by the instructor. Students will increase their knowledge of online rhetoric, audience research, planning for media events, script or treatment writing, and evaluation of communication programs.

Full course description for Communicating with New Media

As consumers of media, citizens should be prepared to assess the messages they receive from sources such as social networks, broadcast, and other media. However, in contemporary society, consumers are also communicating information about themselves, most of which is harvested without their knowledge or understanding. This course prepares students to consider their position as communicators in an interconnected world, where the information they provide about themselves is stored, retrieved, analyzed and used to sell, promote, control, or otherwise influence citizen and consumer behavior.

Full course description for Big Data and the Connected Citizen

This course is concerned with the impact communication technologies have had and continue to have on human societies. The course begins with a brief examination of two technologies that have had a profound impact on how people think about communication. It looks at the background and impact of current technologies. And it also looks at new and emerging technologies - such as hypermedia, neural nets, virtual reality - speculating about how these technologies will change people in the near future and later in the twenty-first century.

Full course description for Impacts of Mediated Communication

Writing for the spoken word and for acting demands different skills than writing for the page. Develop your ear, your signature of voice, your sense of subtext. Through a variety of approaches, from improvisation to creative autobiography, students explore character, conflict and drama as metaphor. Writers with material they would like to explore or adapt for the stage are welcome. Expect to complete at least one short play.

Full course description for Playwriting I

Through writing exercises and screenwriting assignments students will explore and practice writing in a variety of forms including adaptations, webisodes, scripted series, or other emerging episodic forms. Films and screenplays will be analyzed and discussed for critical and historical perspectives. Professional development opportunities will be introduced.

Full course description for New Screenplay Forms

This writing class, a combination of in-class meetings and significant individual work outside of class, explores the many ways that creative writing, from books to literary readings to public art projects, informs daily life. Much of the content of WRIT 300 focuses on how social constructs of race and racism have influenced creative writers in the Twin Cities, from the legacies and impacts of racism on writers¿ creative process and output to the creative writing communities¿ collective and institutional responses to racism. This writing class is designed for non-creative writing majors; students from all disciplines with an interest in creative writing are welcome.

Full course description for Creative Writers, Identity and Race in the Twin Cities