If you are an avid gamer, you may hear claims that playing video games is a waste of time, socially isolating, causes attention disorders, decreases empathy and more.
However, evidence to the contrary is growing. Research shows that playing video games can have significant benefits. In addition to cognitive and social benefits of playing, the video game industry is growing quickly as technology evolves. If landing a job in the fast-growing video game industry is your dream, earning a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Game Development from Lamar University can prepare you for success.
What Is the Importance of Storytelling in Video Games?
According to NPD, 76% of Americans play video games and spend an average of 16.5 hours a week doing so. What keeps them playing? While innovative technologies may enhance the player experience, the storytelling aspect of games keeps players engaged.
With its post-apocalyptic setting and themes of survival, revenge and hope, The Last of Us has all the elements of a dystopian novel. Like a novel, this game follows a classic narrative structure: beginning, middle and end. But unlike turning the pages of a book, players immerse themselves in the story as the characters, connecting on an emotional level as they navigate the plot’s twists and turns from different perspectives.
A growing number of video games are using storytelling to elicit emotional responses. Research supports that such games can promote pro-social skills or behaviors such as empathy and compassion.
What Are Other Benefits of Video Games?
Video games can provide much more than entertainment. Stack Up offers a powerful example of this, as it is a nonprofit organization that uses video gaming to help military service members recover from traumatic injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A related study that examined the use of video games following military service found that video games “play an important role in healing and rehabilitation processes.” One reason is the ability of players to build a supportive online community through shared experiences.
Daphne Bavelier’s TEDx talk “Your Brain on Video Games” has over 8.8 million views, indicating a growing interest in gaming benefits. Bavelier is a cognitive scientist who studies how to make our brains “smarter, better and faster.” She notes that one way to do this is by leverage the power of action-packed video games. Bavelier’s findings show that playing video games can improve brain plasticity, learning, attention, multitasking and even vision.
How Does Lamar University’s B.S. in Computer Game Development Prepare Career-Ready Grads?
The most popular games today rely on storytelling, which requires the ability to develop characters and plotlines through gameplay. Lamar University’s B.S. in Computer Game Development online program teaches students skills in this essential area through coursework that examines the artistic elements of games, including narrative storytelling.
Coursework also develops technical proficiency in game development, computer graphics and artificial intelligence, along with relevant tools such as:
- C++, the go-to programming language for game development, including for virtual and augmented reality, animation and 3D graphics
- LightWave 3D, the popular 3D graphics and animation software
- Microsoft Visual Studio, an integrated development environment for designing and developing games
A B.S. in Computer Game Development opens the door to diverse careers, such as those included below. Average salary estimates are from ZipRecruiter (as of September 2022), but salaries will vary based on education, experience, skills, geographic location and more.
- Video Game Developer: $83,756
- Video Game Programmer: $87,166
- Narrative Designer: $82,800
- Multimedia Programmer: $68,084
- Graphical Interface Programmer (GUI): $96,924
- User Experience (UX) Designer: $102,454
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programmer: $103,763
Do you enjoy keeping up with the latest gaming trends? Do you wish the games you play had better storytelling, dialogue, depth of character and interactivity? Do you have a story you want to tell? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” a career in the video game industry may be your calling.
If you are ready for a career doing something you know you enjoy, Lamar University’s B.S. in Computer Game Development online program offers multiple start dates for your convenience.
Learn more about Lamar University’s online B.S. in Computer Game Development program.