Minor in Game Design

Explore the power of play and the unique, creative possibilities with games.

Video games are more than digital technology that requires a combination of different technical and creative skills. They are a cultural form which has the potential to educate, entertain, and move us. Video games provide a platform to explore complex topics, communicate ideas, and express truths about ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Through the exploration of games as a creative practice, you will receive an introduction to the core concepts of game design, the critical and historical analysis of games as a cultural form, and the collaborative and interdisciplinary craft of game production and development.

The NYU Game Center, established in 2008, is the Department of Game Design in the Skirball Center for New Media at Tisch School of the Arts. 

Minor in Game Design Curriculum

You must complete a minimum of 16 units for the minor.

Declared Minors should contact the NYU Game Center to be registered into Game classes, provided there is availability and course prerequisites have been fulfilled.

Please Note: Not all courses are offered during all academic sessions. Check Albert for course schedule and work with your academic advisor to plan accordingly. Courses listed are allocated to the Minor. For courses with an OART-UT prefix, course registration is first come, first served and open to all undergraduates. For department major courses, refer to the 'Notes' section in Albert for additional departmental requirements and non-major procedures. Courses offered at the School of Professional Studies are not eligible to count toward Tisch Minors.

Required Core Courses

Students must take the core course listed below.

Please note: This course is offered in the fall semester only.

Games 101

OART-UT 1600 | Lecture | 4 units | FALL ONLY | Instructor: Check Albert

Games 101 is the foundational course for the NYU Game Center. The focus of Games 101 is game literacy – a shared understanding of games as complex cultural and aesthetic objects. The class will incorporate lectures, discussion, readings, and writing assignments, but the primary activity of the class is critical play – playing games in order to better understand and appreciate them. The class will cover games on and off the computer, including classic and contemporary board and card games, sports, and games on the PC, internet, and consoles.    

Check Albert for course schedule.


Students are required to take 12 units. A  sampling of courses are listed below. All OART-UT Game (OART-UT 16XX) classes will count towards the Minor as well as all non-majors sections of GAMES-UT classes.

Advanced Topics in Game Studies

OART-UT 1611 | Lecture | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Advanced Topics in Game Studies is a category of class that allows students to focus in-depth on a specific topic in game studies. The focus of the course will vary from semester to semester, but will be based on current issues in video game theory, video game design, and video game culture. Some example courses include: Social Games, Games and Storytelling, Convention and Experiment in Video Games, and Casual Games. Students will actively participate in the development of video game theory.        

Check Albert for course schedule.

Game Development: Project Studio

OART-UT 1612 | Studio | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This course reflects the various skills and disciplines that are brought together in modern game development: game design, programming, visual art, animation, sound design, and writing. The workshop will situate these disciplines within a larger context of game literacy and a historical and critical understanding of games as cultural objects. Classroom lectures and lab time will all be used to bring these different educational vectors together into a coherent whole; the workshop will be organized around a single, long-term, hands-on, game creation project. Working in small groups under the close supervision of instructors, students will collaborate on the creation of a playable game. As a creative constraint to help inspire them and guide their designs, the students will be given a theme to express in their game projects.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Introduction to Game Design

OART-UT 1605 | Studio | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Prerequisites: Students will be expected to have a passion for and interest in games. However, there are no specific prerequisites.

An introduction to the fundamental principles of game design. As with any form of art or design, the field of game design has fundamental concepts and skills that must be acquired as a basis for more advanced work. This course introduces students to the basics of design through the creation of non-digital games. Students will collaborate on making card games, board games, social games, and physical games, while learning about basic game design concepts such as systems, uncertainty, game goals, social play, and meaningful interaction. Readings, discussions, and analyses will link the work students are doing off the computer to computer and videogames.

The course will help students:

  • Develop a critical vocabulary around game design and games in general.
  • Understand how to analyze games as dynamic, complex systems.
  • Become familiar with essential essays and readings relating to game design.
  • Explore games as logical, rules-based systems.
  • Design games as the human experience of players.
  • Understand games as cultural phenomena that relate to larger contexts.
  • Experience the iterative process of prototyping-based game design.
Check Albert for course schedule.

Introduction to Game Engines

GAMES-UT 183 | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Introduction to Game Engines is a course intended for students who already have an understanding of programming fundamentals that introduces concepts, problems, and methods of developing games and interactive media using popular game engines. Game engines are no longer just used for the development of games, they have increasing gained popularity as tools for developing animations, interactives, VR experience, and new media art. Throughout the semester, students will have weekly programming assignments, using a popular game engine. There will be a final game assignment, as well as weekly quizzes and a final exam.

The course assumes prior programming knowledge. If students do not have the appropriate prerequisites, a placement exam may be taken. There will be an emphasis on using code in a game engine environment as a means of creative expression.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Introduction to Programming for Games

OART-UT 1617 | Studio | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Introduction to Programming for Games is a course that introduces students to the concepts, problems, and methods of computer programming, and how these apply to the creation of video games. The course assumes no prior programming knowledge, and is designed to touch on the basic principles of digital design in the form of computer code. There will be an emphasis on programming fundamentals; they will be motivated through the lens of designing and producing video games.

Check Albert for Course Schedule

Introduction to StarCraft

OART-UT 1615 | Lecture | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This class will involve the development of a high level understanding of the real time strategy game, Starcraft 2, including optimizing early gameplay, mastering tactical maneuvers and strategies, and real-time strategic decision making. At the same time it will touch on the development of the industry of e-sports and the design of high-level multiplayer games. Finally, the class will emphasize honing the universally valuable skills of critical thinking, mental discipline, and understanding complex systems and data in real-time, the very skills that make for a world class Starcraft player.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Looking Glass Games

OART-UT 1616 | Studio | 2 units | Instructor: Check Albert

This is an art history course that examines the body of work and impact of a group of artists. It therefore emphasizes historical context, authorship, socioeconomic conditions, and dialogue with other works in an effort to better understand the formal evolution of a particular set of aesthetics that defined Looking Glass Studios’ and their creative contribution to video games and virtual worlds as a cultural form.

The course will be built around playing key games, and key sections of games, from Looking Glass’ body of work, both as homework and as class-based communal play. Each session will include the discussion of games from other companies that are formally related, allowing students to untangle what made Looking Glass’ games special via comparative analysis. There will also be readings for further context and a series of essay assignment so students can mark how the course is transforming their thinking.

The class will also feature former members of the company as guest speakers, depending on their availability. That way, some of the communal play will include the commentaries and insights from the developers themselves.

Check Albert for course schedule.

Thinking About Games

OART-UT 1606 | Lecture | 4 units | Instructor: Check Albert

Prerequisites: No special theoretical background or prior training is needed to take the course. To have had practical experience with games is a distinct advantage.

An introduction to critical and analytical approaches to the subject of digital games. Though the history of video games spans roughly fifty years, and although more than half of the population plays video games, video games have only recently emerged as a field of serious study. This class introduces students to the theory of video games, and answers questions such as: How are video games structured? What types of experiences do video games give? Who plays video games, when and why?

The course will enable students to:

  • Understand and discuss video games from a theoretical perspective.
  • Assess and discuss game concepts and the use of games in various contexts. 
  • Overview the history of video game theory. 
  • Apply new theories and evaluate them critically. 
  • Analyze games, and understand and apply a range of analytical methods.
Check Albert for course schedule.


All students declaring a Minor must receive a grade of C or above in order to have the course count towards a Tisch Minor.

Course Allocations

There are no substitutions for the Minor in Game Design. Students must take either OART-UT 16XX courses or GAMES-UT courses for the Minor in Game Design.

As of spring 2015, regarding double-counting of courses for Tisch students: students who have any combination of Tisch majors/minors will only be permitted to count one course towards both areas. Tisch minor courses can be double-counted between two Tisch minors. For all other NYU students, students' should follow their home school academic policies.