Christian Colleges Level Up Video Game Degrees

Popular new programs focus on the power of storytelling and the potential for evangelism.

Across the years—and gaming systems—Christians have engaged the realm of video games. They’ve played, discussed, and developed games, but they haven’t always had formal training in the theology of video games.

Now, more than a dozen Christian colleges offer video game majors, minors, and concentrations, giving students called to game design the chance to learn in settings that integrate their faith.

Messiah University students in the mobile application and game design concentration are “bringing a Christian perspective to bear on the digital world they will be helping to create.” Abilene Christian University students learn from Christian instructors in the field of digital entertainment technology and are challenged to “change the game” as they dream and create.

At Oklahoma Christian University, class enrollment in the gaming and animation program has tripled over the past seven years. Biola University’s degree in game design and interactive media began as a concentration in its cinema program in 2019 but quickly became its own major the following year.

The program equips students to see the growing medium as a mission field and a platform for compelling storytelling.

“Anywhere where there’s a powerful means of communication, it makes sense for Christians to be in that space,” said Michael Steffen, who heads the Biola program and owns Lantern Tower Games.

While Biola teaches video game majors about programming, the primary focus is gameplay: storyline, characters, world-building, and the themes and messages embedded within. A video game allows its audience to interact with the work and be impacted by it in an experiential way, rather than exclusively through …

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