Q&A With Jason Corace

JASON CORACE is an award winning game designer, media artist and educator who founded MICA’s successful studio concentration in game design. Director of the new B.F.A. in Game Design and faculty in the Interactive Arts Department, Corace’s games are shown in exhibitions and festivals around the world.

What is your vision for the new major in Game Design?

JASON CORACE/ The Game Design B.F.A. explores the craft of game design and the role of play within culture using MICA’s well-established expertise in art and design making. Our program takes an expansive, inclusive and experimental approach to game design that is often lacking at programs founded in computer science departments or are more industry focused. The goal of the program is to develop leaders in the field who are uniquely qualified to explore games and play as a critical art practice with the power to tell stories, create empathy and cultural change.

Can you talk about the new Dolphin Design Center and its possibilities as a space for learning?

JC/ The Dolphin Design Center is going to be amazing and an important catalyst to help grow the Game Design B.F.A., the MICA Game Lab and create even more truly cross-disciplinary work. All three departments in the building share a belief in using an open lab model, where class, studio, lab space and social time often cross over into one another. I believe having a whole building where students are working, collaborating and sharing resources alongside faculty, staff and the local community is going to both create a really special space at MICA and produce some amazing work.

What advantages and opportunities does MICA’s location in Baltimore offer to Game Design students?

JC/ The Baltimore area is a great place to study and work in game design. It has a storied history in the games industry and is home to a large number of game studios: Big Huge Games, Sparky Pants, Firaxis, and Bethesda just to name a few. Furthermore, it is also a great place to start up a studio, work in emerging game related technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality or work as an experience designer for the large number of government and nonprofits located here. This is one of the reasons we also launched the MICA Game Lab; and so far, we have partnered with Johns HopkinsnUniversity, The Walters Art Museum, The Arlington Arts Center, The Creative Alliance and the nonprofits Art Works for Change and Vital Crowd to create game related projects and events.

Why do you think it’s important for MICA to offer this specific program, and can you talk about the role of games in society?

JC/ I believe that we are just beginning to understand the value and importance of the role that play and games have within society. If you hear the word games and only think “video games” then take some time to consider the roles that sports, gambling and analog games play in our lives. If you broaden this out to consider all the ways we “play” throughout our lifetimes, I think its clear that games and play are essential parts of what it means to be human and exist in culture. There are a large number of reasons I could list for why this program makes sense at MICA (an existing history within the industry, the cross-disciplinary nature of both game design and art and design schools, the need for more diverse voices in the field, etc.), but the core of it goes back to MICA’s belief in the vital role of art in society. Games and play are perhaps more vital then ever in culture and its important that artists and designers get involved in the discussion of how, why, when and where we play.

Do you have any final thoughts on the new Game Design B.F.A. you’d like to share?

JC/ I just want to add that part of the goal of the MICA Game Lab and B.F.A. program is to be a partner to those at MICA, the Baltimore Community and beyond who are interested in games and playful experiences of all kinds. We regularly host events, works-hops and make projects ourselves, and if you’d like to keep up to date on what we are doing check out: gamelab.mica.edu/