IAM Game Design Major

Computer game play has emerged as the most popular form of entertainment in our culture and exhibits great promise as a tool for education, science, and industry. Leveraging the strengths of the Interactive Arts and Media Department, the interdisciplinary nature of the faculty, and partnerships with other departments, the Game Design major is designed to educate students for careers in the exciting and fast-growing field of game design and production.

The Game Design major in Interactive Arts and Media provides contextual understanding and competence in this distinctive discipline. Our students develop an understanding of the aesthetics, theory, and culture of games that informs their work and encourages originality in content. Game Design majors learn how to develop games in a strong and collaborative production environment in which teams work together effectively to create games.

Students in the Game Design major complete the Interactive Arts and Media core before enrolling in Game Design courses that accentuate the cultural aspects of game design, game design theory, and concept development. Students then select one of four concentrations in Game Art, Development , or Sound providing the depth of specialization that the game industry demands. A distinctive component of the Game Design curriculum is the senior capstone course. As students study in their chosen specializations, they are expected not only to accumulate knowledge and skills, but also to accumulate original content in order to complete their final capstone experience. The capstone course brings together teams of student specialists in the framework of an advanced production class, where they learn effective team-building strategies and the creation of shared visions, culminating in the production of a working game.

Game Concentrations

Game Design majors can study in the following areas:

Game Projects

Ascend (2016)

The Fool begins his journey...

Ascend is a first-person narrative driven exploration game where the player takes up the role of The Lost Wanderer. Adrift in a world with purpose forgotten, they are pursued by a mysterious Tower, forever rising in the distance. Steel your nerves and enter the Tower, each floor housing prodigious worlds with many astray individuals of their own. Come to understand these lost people and the Tower will reveal it's mystery, and purpose...

Everything we see is not truth, but perspective...

Understanding those you aid is the only way of finding the source of their emprisionment, and the only hope you have of unshackling them from their bastille. Master empathy and peer into their thoughts and viewpoint, enkindling their strife within yourself. Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Kissy Ghost (2016)

Kissy Ghost is a game about a bunch of humans trying to exorcise a ghost residing within their house by taking it on a really sweet date! A 2D pixel arena game for anywhere between 2-4 players, the ghost must kiss furniture in order to animate it so they may stop the humans. The humans must gather various HOT DATE items from around the house and bring them to the main room to vanquish the ghost.

(NOTES: Items must be placed within individual “Heartigrams” in the main room in order for the humans to succeed. In order to move between rooms, all human players must be within the bounds of the same door before this can happen.) Created in the 36-3994 Indie Team Game Project senior capstone course.

PC Version

Darkening Horizons (2016)

Darkening Horizons is a first person exploration game set in a deep foggy valley. Explore the beautiful low poly environment and help the Goddess reach the Sacred Grove.

What you need to play: Headphones, Xbox 360 Controller, Oculus Rift headset (unless playing non-oculus version). Created in the Game Project senior capstone course. Created in the 36-3994 Indie Team Game Project senior capstone course.

PC version | Oculus version

Metacosmic Earthrace (2015)

The Metacosmic Earth-Race is a first-person racing platformer for 2-4 players. Taking place in Generic, New Mexico after the crash of the spaceship Metacosmic, it follows a motley crew of characters as they race through the ship, collecting artifacts and defying the laws of gravity.

Developed by a crack team of students at Columbia College Chicago, this high-speed game is not one to be missed! Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Astray: A Foresaken Tale (2014)

Astray: A Forsaken Tale is a first-person stealth dark fantasy/horror game. The princess Bridgitte de L’ancienne’s very home has fallen prey to an evil she can scarcely fathom. Her once loyal servants now roam the halls as creatures unheard of, hell-bent upon her immediate capture. Powerless to fight back, creep through the shadows and slip into crevices as you traverse the infested castle to find Bridgitte’s parents. Uncover the mystery behind the malevolent force that has engulfed her life within this living nightmare.

Succumb to fear and be led astray; conquer the darkness and find the light. Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Undertakers (2013)

Inspired by the famed westerns of Sergio Leone, Undertakers is a third-person LAN shooter that pits you against three of your friends in a frantic battle to seize a single bar of gold.

Whoever claims the gold will have to contend with the combined efforts of everyone else who bands together to take you down! Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

WATR (2012)

Water Aloft The Ridge is a disturbingly elegant 3D puzzle/adventure game. You must ascend the ridge three times, the first as the Old Man, then as the Young Man, and finally as the Little Girl. As the Ridge’s magical nature evokes buried and painful memories, each ventures up a ridge in search of closure with a recently deceased family. In order to climb the Ridge you must use each character’s unique attributes and Raven Powers to solve the different types of puzzles you come across. Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Warden of RAAL (2011)

Warden of Raal is a trap setting game, where the player controls a construct tasked with protecting their ancient temple from a constant onslaught of thieves bent on stealing their relics; the source of their mystical powers.

Having been recently awakened from its frozen slumber, the last of temple wardens must take up its duty to protect the temple from intruders. With the recent discovery of the temple, many have come in seek of the treasures that lie within. The temple, powered by a series of mystical relics, has only the warden to safeguard these relics, it being the only line of defense between waves of invaders and the complete loss of an ancient civilization. The warden, fueled by the temples power, has the ability to channel this force into the creation of traps to repell those that would dare venture within. Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

GruntWork (2010)

Grunt Work is a light-hearted action game that is a twist on the standard “rescue the princess” cliché of fantasy games and literature. Two players, each controlling an invading monster – either an ogre or a sorceress - work cooperatively to fight their way through the castle, ascend the highest tower and get to the princess. In Grunt Work, however, the princess is not the damsel in distress, and the two monsters aren’t the bad guys… Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Dismatle Repair (2009)

Dismantle Repair is a team-oriented video game where two teams compete to build towers that reach into the clouds. In order to build their towers, the teams must compete for building materials found in the environment. The characters on each team can also steal building blocks from the opposing team’s tower, and use their special abilities to make things harder for the other team, or easier for their own. Created in the Game Project senior capstone course.

Graduates of Columbia College's Interactive Arts and Media department are employed at game companies such as: