Hugh Pickens writes: "The Washington Post reports that officials at George Mason University are quickly finding out that they have vastly underestimated interest in the school's new bachelor's degree in video game design. "We've been overwhelmed," says Scott M. Martin, assistant dean for technology, research and advancement at GMU. "Our anticipated enrollment for the fall is 500 percent higher than we expected." George Mason first offered the program last fall when officials anticipated that it would enroll about 30 full-time students but currently 200 students are enrolled and that number is increasing. Course titles under the program include "History of Computer Game Design " while other courses focus on computer programming, digital arts and graphics and motion capture. Although many colleges offer courses and degrees in computer gaming in the United States, GMU offers the only four-year program in the DC area, an important market for gaming because serious games — those used to train military and special operations, doctors and others who use simulators — are becoming a market force in the region because of the proximity to federal government centers. "Gaming has been shifting from Silicon Valley," says Eugene Evans, general manager of Bioware Mythic, part of Electronic Arts located in Fairfax, Virginia. "The team at GMU is putting a strong emphasis on a broad set of disciplines and instilling an entrepreneurial spirit, which could mean many new start-ups within a few years.""
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