Mass media department introduces new video game class

Matthew Boland CONTRIBUTOR

Washburn University brings meaningful play to Washburn’s campus with the introduction of the Interactive Storytelling class. With the help of Matthew Nyquist, the mass media department is offering a new and exciting edition to its line up of courses offered.

MM 393 will explore the the birth of video games and their eventual rise to become one of the biggest industries in the world, their design and the industry that emerged because of them.

There is an overall sense of excitement when you enter the classroom of MM 393. It almost feels as if this group of individuals have been waiting, simmering, for an opportunity to explore their passions amongst like minded peers. Fortunately, they have found a place to do just that. They are able to let themselves get lost in the wonder of an industry that has captivated millions.

At the helm is Professor Matthew Nyquist, a filmmaker who graduated from the prestigious Univeristy of Southern California, and shares a alumni role with George Lucas. Nyquist moved back to the Topeka area for family reasons and took a job opportunity here at Washburn. This is Nyquist first year teaching at the University and he is teaching the MM 393 class, a class in which he pitched to the department.

“As of right now I only teach this class,” Nyquist said. “ It is kind of my trial run, but I’m hoping to teach more in the summer.”

Nyquist shares the same enthusiasm as his students. He often times loses himself explaining the small intricacies of game design that make his favorite games work.

Nyquist is not only a professor but a peer, someone the students can relate to and share their passions with.

One of the main focuses of the class is understanding “meaningful play.” Meaningful play is defined as every action made by the player, whether that be jumping, running, punching that has a purpose implemented the designers of the game.

This is interesting to both students new and familiar with video games. Students familiar with video games will get an inside look into the world of video game design.

will find an appreciation for what goes into building these multi million dollar projects.

Another integral aspect of the class is learning the in’s and outs of the video game industry. Whether that be marketing, journalism or public relations, the video game industry has many jobs opportunities for mass media students.

“It is designed to get people ready for the industry. Because when I was growing up i always wanted to be involved in the industry, but I had no idea how to go about it. So through about 10 years of during journalism in the industry I’ve met a lot of people, gained contacts and learned about the industry so want to pass that on,” said Nyquist.

Throughout the course students will be able to meet industry insiders like Greg Snook from, 343 Industries and Chad Concelmo from Nintendo. Students will also get to apply what they have learned about game design, into a final project where they’ll design their own game.