A degree in writing ... computer games?

Edinburgh Napier University is offering a creative writing MA program in science fiction – with "a unique focus on writing for computer games and interactive media."

Does this represent an innovative embrace of fiction's future – or is it simply a step too far?

That all depends on who you ask. In the Guardian, dueling bloggers tackle the question.

According to John Crace, "[T]hose who ... play [computer games] have little real interest in the plot; all they really care about is collecting more nerdy special powers for their character than anyone else.... Take it from me; if you're writing for computer games, you're writing in order not to be read."

But Quin Parker suggests that if Charles Dickens were alive today, he might be "writing cut scenes for adventure games." According to Parker, "Stories make games compelling, and interactive fiction is an old, old genre born in a time when computers were barely more functional than staplers."

Maybe. The proof, however, will be in the pudding, and at least for the moment what might resonate most for many readers is the confession with which Parker begins his argument: "Nobody's suggesting that people need degrees to write 'thank you Mario, but our princess is in another castle.' "

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