In the past 3-4 years there has been a significant interest in computer games in University and college curricula, as a way to teach early
computer science, to attract more students into the program, and to teach advanced concepts and lend vocational weight to a curriculum. In
this article we discuss many ways that games can contribute to an undergraduate CS program, and illustrates specific ways that the use of
games has influenced the students, the faculty, and the institution. Our claims are supported by numbers based on actual observation and
study. We also show how the inclusion of games can add to research aspects and the reputation of a computer science department.
Categories and Subject Descriptors
K.3.2: Computer and Information Science Education - computer science education, curricula, information systems education. J.m
Algorithms, Management, Measurement, Design.
Computer science curriculum, education, pedagogy.
Although courses and programs related to computer games and video game programming and design have been taught for a decade or so, it
is only relatively recently that there in any significant interest from Universities. The perception used to be that many of the skills needed to
construct modern games are vocational ones. However, the synergistic effect of integrating a large number of diverse computer science
topics/concepts into one framework, the inclusion of pertinent portions from Fine Arts disciplines, the software engineering practice that
accrues from the group effort to build a non-trivial game, and the potential positive recruiting effect to help with enrolment deficits are
strong positive arguments that are being recognized by administrators and teachers.
When a course on games programming/design is proposed for a university program, there can be a significant degree of opposition from
faculty. It is true that a game programming course does not teach a significant new set of computing skills tha