Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 07:22 GMT 08:22 UK
Compulsory games for students
The courses will prepare students for a career in the games industry
A university computer department is taking down notices saying that it is forbidden to play games - and replacing them with new signs saying that it is going to become compulsory.
The University of Teesside is introducing a degree course in designing computer games, which will mean four years of playing and building games and writing essays on such subjects as the history of computer games.
For serious addicts of screen games, there is a course unit dedicated to the appreciation of games, which will involve comparing the relative merits of the latest releases and classics such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario.
The course tutor, Matthew Holton, says that the new qualification, which will have links with games companies, will provide graduates for the expanding jobs market in the computer games industry.
"People don't realise how large the computer games industry has become - or that some of the best games are developed in Britain."
The course has been designed as practical training for a career in designing computer games, with students spending their time learning about how to make games and considering which approaches produce the best results.
Mr Holton, who expects the course to attract serious games enthusiasts, says that assessing students' efforts will not be problematic.
"There are plenty of academic criteria that can be applied to such a course, such as assessing the quality of art work, lighting, animation, interaction and the user interface."
The university is offering two degree courses for computer games - one in the creative design for games and the other in computer programming.
But even though the courses are dealing with games, a university spokesman emphasised that these were not "Mickey Mouse" subjects, but were serious vocational courses serving a growing sector of the economy.