For the win: Indie Game Challenge celebrates inaugural honorees

Indie Game Challenge logoTwo teams received $100,000 each as winners of the inaugural Indie Game Challenge sponsored by The Guildhall at SMU, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and GameStop Corp.. The honorees were announced Feb. 19, 2010, following the conclusion of the D.I.C.E.™ (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit in Las Vegas.

In attendance were representatives from each of the 12 finalist teams along with game publishers, developers and associated enterprises. The awards ceremony was hosted by Adam Sessler, host of G4 TV’s “X-Play.” Among the presenters were Guildhall Executive Director Peter Raad, AIAS President Joseph Olin and GameStop Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing Tony Bartel.

The $100,000 winners are:

Screencap from 'Gear'Grand Prize, Non-Professional category: Gear, submitted by Team 3: Joshua Maiche, team lead; Mike Halbrooke, level designer; Ben Frazier, level designer; Brian Lee, designer, graphics, art and music; and Andrew Hill, level designer. All team members are students at the Digipen Institute of Technology in Redmond, Washington.

Gear is a 2D puzzle game for Windows in which the player controls a robot with the ability to change its hand into a gear. The player has to swing around sockets, ride on rails, swim and even rotate the world in order to get through 10 unique levels and beat the “boss.”

Screencap from 'Cogs'Grand Prize, Professional category: Cogs, submitted by San Francisco-based Lazy 8 Studios and a three-person team: Rob Jagnow, team leader; Brendan Mauro, artist; and Luke Gilbert, sound and music.

Cogs is a puzzle game for Windows in which players build machines from sliding tiles. Players can choose from 50 levels and three gameplay modes. New puzzles are unlocked by building contraptions quickly and efficiently.

Screencap from 'Altitude'Category winners include:

  • Technical Achievement ($2,500): Altitude, an aerial battle game for Windows, Mac and Linux submitted by professional team Nimbly Games headed by life-long friends and Las Cruces, New Mexico, neighbors Erik Measure and Karl Sabo
  • Achievement in Art Direction ($2,500): Cogs
  • Achievement in Gameplay ($2,500): Cogs
  • Gamer’s Choice Award ($10,000): Altitude

The recipient of the Indie Game Challenge SMU scholarship will be announced later this spring. The winner of the Gamer’s Choice Award Sweepstakes will be selected from all eligible sweepstakes entries and announced March 19.

Read more about the winners at
Find a complete list of finalists
See The Guildhall at SMU online
Learn more about the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Visit the GameStop Corp. website

Guildhall, AIAS announce Academy Scholarship

guildhall-logo-200.jpgThe Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and The Guildhall at SMU have announced the establishment of the Academy Scholar program, designed to build a force of new talent in interactive entertainment.

aias-logo-200.jpgThe program, which will begin during the Fall 2009 semester, will award $10,000 per semester for 2 semesters to a graduate-level Guildhall student. The scholarship “will honor an outstanding applicant who exemplifies the AIAS’ spirit and commitment to advance the worldwide interactive entertainment community,” according to a joint news release from AIAS and the Guildhall.

“SMU and AIAS have a shared vision and responsibility to further the industry and support the next generation of game makers,” said Peter Raad, Guildhall executive director and founder. “Our mission has always been to produce future industry leaders and the very best game professionals. We are honored to have the AIAS as a partner in helping us fulfill this mission.”

“There is no better time for us to invest in the next generation of game makers,” said Joseph Olin, AIAS president. “We want candidates who can share their vision and goals for this industry – our future influentials who will address the challenges of game creation and inspire new ways of making games.”

To be considered for an Academy Scholarship, a combined panel of senior AIAS members and an SMU review board will evaluate and rank each admission portfolio. The applicants with the highest rank order will be invited to submit an essay for consideration to win the scholarship.

The AIAS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to “promoting awareness of the art and science of interactive games and entertainment.” Its Board of Directors includes senior executives representing Sony, EA, Nintendo, Microsoft, THQ and Ubisoft as well as the independent development community.

Read about the Academy Scholar announcement at the 2009 D.I.C.E. Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain)
Learn more about the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
Visit the Guildhall online