While the reasons for taking computers and new media differ widely given the difference in backgrounds and experiences, there is an overall desire to understand the connection between the media we use and experience and its effect on culture.
Given that the majority of the class are computer scientists, there is a prevailing desire to understand how the software that they develop is viewed, consumed, and deployed as well as a desire to to do all those things effectively.
Media is widely viewed as a vehicle for communication of a message. As such the study of computers and new media tends to be viewed as a way of enhancing the experience of a medium's content.
As for the patterns that can be seen in media consumption go, it is worth noting that many of the students cited that they played the Elder Scroll series, Civilization, and Fallout. What makes these games so widely played? I think it is because they offer a level of autonomy in their play that allows them to explore their experience while simultaneously molding that experience as they see fit.
The Elder scrolls and Fallout focus on exploration as the primary experience.
Civilization focuses on the control and empowerment/achievement as the primary experience.
It is also worth noting that the kinds of media most cited are media or instances of media that are meant as entertainment: Music, TV, Movies, Video Games, and Books
I think this is worth noting because it shows what people want: To have fun!
They see media as a way of enhancing their lives through entertainment rather than through some direct utility.