Videogames were always the antithesis of high school for me. After seven hours a day of battling through the tedious imagination-press and concentrating as hard as I could on staying intelligent in the face of education, once my homework was done, the first thing I wanted to do to recover was go exploring the dinosaur-strewn environs of Super Mario World or wallow in the bliss of Secret Of Mana.
It’s strange to me then, but rather pleasing, that the British government is set to bring the two binary opposites of my earlier life together by adding some new videogame-based components to the nation’s education system. Applying to both high school and college level, the new units will allow 14 – 16 year olds to study game development history through a Media GCSE, while 16 – 18 year olds will find the option of critical study of games sitting in their Advanced Media Studies course like the big shiny surprise at the bottom of the Christmas stocking.
Despite certain recent controversies, the UK definitely seems to be taking videogaming very seriously as an industry at the moment. With retail sales going through the roof, a new games development academy being set up, Gordon Brown’s new government pledging support, and now grass roots work being done for budding young developers, I’m actually beginning to get quietly excited about the prospect of a return to the glory days of the ’90s for the British industry. Not too excited though, you understand. I’m English and thus prevented by law from expressing too much enthusiasm about anything.
But if only they could have started this sort of thing in 1992…