Guildhall Top 10

SMU Guildhall students choose 2016’s top 10 video games

Final Fantasy XV screen cap

Vivid characters and deeply detailed worlds are longstanding elements of the Final Fantasy game series. The latest installment, Final Fantasy XV, has been voted one of 2016’s top 10 games by students in the SMU Guildhall digital game development program.


SMU Guildhall students in art, programming, level design and production have named 10 outstanding titles – from the augmented-reality mobile adventure Pokémon GO to a reboot of the genre-defining first-person shooter Doom – as the Top Video Games of 2016.

The students – all Master of Interactive Technology or Professional Certificate candidates in digital game development – each chose their five favorites from a list of 50 of the year’s most talked-about games of every type and for any platform, says Marc Mixon of the Guildhall Student Activities Committee. Results were tabulated with an instant-runoff scoring system, in which descending numerical values were assigned for each place from first to fifth.

Overwatch screen cap

In Overwatch, a motley six-person crew fights missions together in colorful locations ranging from the Temple of Anubis to the Rock of Gibraltar to a Hollywood backlot.

Winning first place easily was the critical and commercial hit Overwatch, a shooter in which players form six-person teams online and complete missions together in a colorful, diverse and lived-in world. The reimagined edition of the classic Doom, once again created by Dallas-based iD Software, was not far behind. The remaining titles were closely grouped, with each receiving several votes.

There are many different measures for what makes a game great, Mixon says, whether a well-balanced experience for multiplayer titles or a compelling story for a single-player game. The students’ game choices reflect the best of their respective genres, he adds.

Video games continue to rake in consumers’ entertainment dollars, according to the industry’s largest lobbying group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). Total U.S. revenues for the industry hit $23.5 billion in 2015, which represented 5% growth over the previous year. ESA data show that more than 150 million Americans play video games and 63 percent of households are home to at least one person who plays video games regularly (at least three hours per week).

Fortune: Level Up! Video Game Revenues Soar in 2015

Following is the complete list, in descending order, of the SMU Guildhall’s Top 10 for 2016. Descriptions include the developer/publisher, genre or genres, play mode, ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the game platform or platforms on which it runs. (Note that the ESRB does not rate online interactions for multiplayer online games.)

1. Overwatch
Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: First-person shooter
Mode: Team-based multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

2. Doom (2016)
iD Software/Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

3. Pokémon Sun and Moon
Game Freak/The Pokémon Company
Genre: Role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Dark Souls 3 screen cap

The “withered beauty” aesthetic and heart-pounding combat of Dark Souls III earned it a place among the SMU Guildhall’s top games of 2016.

4. World of Warcraft: Legion
Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
Mode: Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: MS Windows, OS X

5. Dark Souls III
FromSoftware/Bandai Namco Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

6. Pokémon GO
Niantic Labs/The Pokémon Company
Genres: Augmented reality, location-based
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Platforms: iOS, Android, Apple Watch

SMU Pokestops

The SMU campus is a map of Pokéstops – with Dallas Hall as a Pokémon gym – in a screen from the augmented-reality game Pokémon GO, which makes real-world landmarks a part of the gameplaying action.

7. Stardew Valley
ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games
Genres: Simulation, role-playing
Mode: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: Linux, MS Windows, Nintendo Switch, OS X, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

8. Final Fantasy XV
Square Enix
Genre: Action role-playing
Mode: Single-player
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

9. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End
Naughty Dog/Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action-adventure
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Platforms: PlayStation 4

10. Battlefield 1
EA DICE/Electronic Arts
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Platforms: MS Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

2016-12-20T15:14:23+00:00 December 19, 2016|News|

The Guildhall at SMU names its 2013 Top 10 Games for Giving

Still from the 'Minecraft' Adventure Update

The all-ages world-building game Minecraft made The Guildhall at SMU’s 2013 Top 10 Games for Giving list. The game’s publisher, Mojang, released the highly anticipated Adventure Update in June.

The Guildhall at SMU has named 10 outstanding titles – ranging from a new adventure from the Legend of Zelda to a reboot of the classic Tomb Raider series – to its 2013 Top Video Games to Give for the Holidays list.

The games were chosen in a survey of Guildhall faculty and students and include a mix of new releases and classic titles. All of them are recommended as great gifts, says Doug Darby, Guildhall manager of creative and digital strategy.

Following is the complete list, in ascending order, of The Guildhall’s Top 10 for 2013. Descriptions include the developer/publisher, genre or genres, ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the game platform or platforms on which it runs.

# # # # #

Screen capture from 'Super Mario 3D World'

Super Mario and friends are back – and as unstoppable as ever. Their new adventure, Super Mario 3D World, was chosen by students and faculty of The Guildhall at SMU as one of 2013’s Top 10 Games for Giving.

10. Minecraft
Mojang / Microsoft Studios
Genre: Sandbox, survival
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Android, iOS, Java platform, Java applet, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4,
PlayStation Vita, Raspberry Pi, Xbox 360, Xbox One

9. Grand Theft Auto V
Rockstar Games
Genre: Action-adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

8. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team
Nintendo
Genre: Role-playing
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and up)
Nintendo 3DS

7. Super Mario 3D World
Nintendo
Genre: Platform game
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Wii U

6. Borderlands 2
2K Games / Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: First-person shooter, action-adventure, role playing
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Windows

5. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Ubisoft
Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, Windows

4. Tomb Raider (2013)
Square Enix / Feral Interactive
Genre: Action-adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows

The vividly imagined floating city of Columbia, circa 1912, is the setting for Bioshock Infinite. The latest game in the critically acclaimed series tops The Guildhall at SMU's 2013 Top 10 Gifts for Giving list.

The vividly imagined floating city of Columbia, circa 1912, is the setting for Bioshock Infinite. The latest game in the critically acclaimed series tops The Guildhall at SMU’s 2013 Top 10 Gifts for Giving list.

3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
2K Games / Feral Interactive
Genre: Turn-based tactics, strategy
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
iOS, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows

2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Nintendo
Genre: Action-adventure, open-world
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Nintendo 3DS

1. Bioshock Infinite
2K Games
Genre: First-person shooter
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows

Additional titles that scored high enough to merit honorable mention:

Starbound
Chucklefish Games
Genre: Platform game, action-adventure, sandbox, role-playing
ESRB Rating: Not yet rated
Linux, Mac OS X, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows

Pokémon X and Y
Nintendo
Genre: Role-playing
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Nintendo 3DS

'Saints Row 4' screencap

Saints Row IV brought the series’ trademark blend of adventure and comedy back for another round in August. The game has received an honorable mention on The Guildhall at SMU’s 2013 Top 10 Games for Giving list.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Bethesda Softworks
Genre: Action-adventure, role-playing
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360

Saints Row IV
Deep Silver
Genre: Action-adventure
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360

2013-12-23T15:06:07+00:00 December 23, 2013|News|

The Guildhall at SMU names its top 10 games for 2012

Cynder the dragon from 'Skylanders Giants'

The dragon Cynder, newly freed from her evil past, plays a key role in the all-ages video game ‘Skylanders: Giants.’ Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create the game, which has made The Guildhall’s Top 10 of 2012 list.

The Master Chief in 'Halo 4'

‘Halo 4’ marks the return of one of video gaming’s most iconic characters: the Master Chief. Alumni of The Guildhall at SMU helped create the new title, which has made The Guildhall Top 10 of 2012 list.

The Guildhall at SMU has named 10 state-of-the-art titles – ranging from the epic adventures of a Disney icon to the American Revolution seen through an assassin’s eyes – to its 2012 Top 10 Video Games list. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Assassin’s Creed 3 are two of the games chosen by Guildhall faculty, students and alumni in 4 different specialties for their outstanding art, level design, software development and production quality.

Guildhall alumni have worked on 6 of this year’s top 10 games: Borderlands 2Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, The Elder Scrolls 5: SkyrimEpic Mickey 2Halo 4 and Skylanders: Giants.

Battlefield 3 and Elder Scrolls 5 are the first games to make the list in two consecutive years. Released in late 2011, both had a critical and commercial impact that carried over well into 2012, says Doug Darby, Guildhall manager of creative and digital strategy.

Borderlands 2 - Axton at the wheel

Graphic novel-style art and a wicked sense of humor are hallmarks of ‘Borderlands 2,’ which features work by alumni of The Guildhall at SMU. The Guildhall named the title to its Top 10 Video Games of 2012 list.

The international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the worldwide video game market will expand to $83 billion by 2016, growing at a 7.2 percent compound annual rate. Increased availability of broadband internet is expected to propel a 36 percent increase in online gaming by that year.

Following is the complete list, in rating order, of 2012’s top games as selected by The Guildhall at SMU. Descriptions include the developer/publisher, genre or genres, ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rating and the game platform or platforms on which it runs.

# # # # #

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two •
Blitz Games Studios, Junction Point Studios / Disney Interactive
Cooperative gameplay, platform game
Mac OSX, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

LEGO The Lord of the Rings
Traveller’s Tales / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Action-adventure, open world
Nintendo DS and 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Skylanders: Giants •
Toys For Bob / Activision
Platform game
Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Assassin’s Creed 3
Ubisoft Montréal / Ubisoft
Historical, action-adventure, open world, stealth
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Windows
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Battlefield 3
EA Digital Illusions CE / Electronic Arts
First-person shooter
iOS, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Borderlands 2 •
Gearbox Software / 2K Games
First-person shooter, action-adventure, role playing
Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 •
Treyarch / Activision
First-person shooter
PlayStation 3, Wii U, Windows, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim
Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks
Action-adventure, role playing, open world
PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Halo 4
343 Industries / Microsoft Studios
First-person shooter
Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Firaxis / 2K Games
Turn-based tactics, strategy
PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

• Indicates a game featuring work by alumni of The Guildhall at SMU.

2012-12-20T11:57:51+00:00 December 19, 2012|News|
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