Wooplex Wins Grand Prize At 2015 MassDiGI Game Challenge

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is pleased to announce that Wooplex, a Worcester-based independent game studio, has won the overall Grand Prize as well as Indie Beta/Near Release Category honors in the fourth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge with the game Wooplex. Wooplex is a game based on a beloved Ukrainian cartoon character “Kapitoshka” in which players are challenged to help the main character, Wooplex, and his friends save his world after all of the light was stolen away.

Wooplex is being developed by Oles Terletskyy, a Lviv, Ukraine native, WPI graduate student and Fulbright Fellow, Ostap Hrytsyshyn, a student at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv and Terletskyy’s father Ihor Terletskyy, an artist.

Grand Prize Winner Oles Terletskyy and Monty Sharma

Grand Prize Winner Oles Terletskyy and Monty Sharma

“Winning the MassDiGI Game Challenge means more to us than you can imagine. The experience, especially the mentoring, was amazing,” said Terletskyy.

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps indie, start-up and student game development entrepreneurs hone their ideas and products for launch. This year over 30 teams consisting of indie game developers and students from around the United States competed in front of a full-house on February 6 and 7 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge.

The annual event is a key showcase for the growing video game development cluster in the region. A cadre of game industry veterans served as speakers, mentors and judges during the pitch competition.

As the Grand Prize Winner and a Category winner, Wooplex receives $2,250, a legal services package from Greenberg Traurig, customized mentoring and public relations/marketing packages, a slot at MassDiGI’s PAX East demo table and computer hardware.

Playtesting Black Hat Oculus

Playtesting Black Hat Oculus

The People’s Choice Award winner as well as Runner-up in the Indie Beta/Near Release Category was Boston-based Team Future with Black Hat Oculus. A two-player cooperative stealth virtual reality game played in the Oculus Rift or on a computer,  where you can sneak past agents, avoid traps, discover secrets or use hacking s skills to disable enemies, unlock doors and more.

“This year’s competition was the closest ever,” said Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, “We were blown away by the teams, the talent and the creativity.”

Other top Indie Category winners include Medford-based Mob Made Games for Descendants which won top honors in the Demo/Alpha Category. Descendants is a fast paced, tactical hybrid game set in space where each match leaves lasting changes that impact future play-throughs.

Pitching Paper Pests

Pitching Paper Pests

The Serious Game Alpha/Concept Category winning award went to Studio REKS for The Ecokids and the Paper Pests, a game designed by WPI undergraduates to teach the basics of biodiversity in which players are challenged to strategically preserve as much of an ecosystem’s biodiversity as possible after an invasive species is set loose.

Serious Game Beta/Near Release Category honors went to Cambridge-based Skylight Games for Lyrical: Learn Language with Music. Lyrical is designed to train your ear to recognize a range of pronunciations, remember the meanings of words through the stories of the songs and unconsciously internalize word order through addictive repetition.

Play Nimbus, a student start-up from Becker College, won the College Demo/Alpha Category for Private Eyes, a murder mystery party game where you and your friends try to find the culprit among them. Play Nimbus won a Category in the 2013 Game Challenge for Wobbles, a free game now available on the App Store and Play Store.

Maximum Crash, also from Becker, won the College Beta/Near Release Category with Starlot Derby, an action mobile/web-based app where the player battles an alien species known as “Starmen” in a game of baseball where levels change and pull in elements of classic arcade titles.

Winning the High School Category was Dante Hin-Gasco from La Scuola D’Italia Guglielmo Marconi in New York City with Math for Honor.

“The quality of game design coming up from the high school level is astounding,” added Sharma. “These competitors across high school, college and indie levels are setting a very high bar in making, not only technically sound games, but also novel methods of game play that will soon blaze new trails in the industry.”

Other Category Runner-up honors went to:

  • Indie Demo/Alpha: Zephyr WorkshopFlorafiora
  • College Demo/Alpha: Deli Bar Gaming (Becker, UMass Lowell) – Carpe Diem
    • College Demo/Alpha: Two Brothers – (Champlain College) – Hyper Syntax - 2nd Runner-up
  • College Beta/Near Release: Mustachio Games (Binghamton University, Northeastern University, Hampshire College & RISD) – Red Survivor
  • Serious Games Beta/Near Release: DynamicX (Purdue University) – The Shield: By Storm and Knowledge
  • High School: Millbury, MA – Insula Noe

Honorable Mentions were given to:

  •  Indie Beta/Near Release: Urban Electronic GamesWurmZilla
  • College Demo/Alpha: The Hurly Birds (Northeastern) – Get up, Chuck!

The 2015 MassDiGI Game Challenge was made possible through sponsorship and support from Microsoft, Greenberg Traurig, Disruptor Beam, RockStar New England, Proletariat Inc., Thumbspire, MassTech’s Innovation Institute, Becker College, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, BlueSnap, Nvidia, Vicarious Visions, Vivox and the ESA Foundation.

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WBJ: Mass. video game industry growing

“As the video game industry enjoys growth across the United States, Massachusetts is reaping some of those benefits, according to a national trade group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).” Read the full story from the Worcester Business Journal here.

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The Counting Kingdom wins 2014 MassDiGI Game Challenge

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute is pleased to announce that Little Worlds Interactive, a Boston-based independent educational game development studio, has won the overall Grand Prize as well as Serious Game Prototype category honors in the third annual MassDiGI Game Challenge for The Counting Kingdom. The Counting Kingdom is a game for kids aged seven and up that encourages players to practice their math skills in a playful and engaging way.

“We are so excited to be heading home with the Grand Prize and category honors,” said Jenna Hoffstein, founder of Little Worlds Interactive. “MassDiGI did an amazing job organizing the event and bringing so many great developers, mentors and speakers together. The feedback and experience I received during the Game Challenge was extremely valuable, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is making a game and wants it to succeed.”

This is the first time a serious or educational game has won the MassDiGI Game Challenge Grand Prize.

Other top Boston-area winners include Chris Chung for Catlateral Damage which won the People’s Choice award and Indie Entertainment Game Prototype category honors. Catlateral Damage is a fun, first-person cat simulator where the goal is to knock as many of your owner’s possessions onto the ground as possible.

Please click here to read the entire official press release about all the winners. Click here to read stories on Game Politics, BetaBoston (1), Gamasutra, BetaBoston (2), WBUR or Boston.com.

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MassDiGI receives grant from ESA Foundation

The ESA Foundation (ESAF) has awarded the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) at Becker College a $25,000 grant to expand high school student participation in the annual MassDiGI Game Challenge and launch MassDiGI 101, a series of mini workshops focused on game design and development.

Read the full press release here or read the stories at Game Politics, Go Local WorcesterBoston Herald,  Worcester Telegram and Worcester Business Journal.

esa-foudation-logo

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Telegram.com: CEO One-on-One with MassDiGI’s Timothy Loew

“The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute is a statewide collaboration of academics and entrepreneurs dedicated to fostering the growth and development of the Massachusetts digital and video games industry. MassDiGI was established in 2011 at Becker College and is funded through a variety of mechanisms, including corporate sponsorships, in-kind support, and state and federal grants, including a recent federal grant of $1.4 million that will be used to renovate MassDiGI’s New Ventures Center at Becker College, 80 William St., Worcester.”

Read and watch the full interview here.

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Massachusetts – Canada Innovation Partnership Mission visits Execution Labs in Montreal

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Department
Office of Governor Deval L. Patrick
Press Release

GOVERNOR PATRICK VISITS DIGITAL GAMES START-UP ACCELERATOR IN MONTREAL TO STRENGTHEN EMERGING VIDEO AND DIGITAL GAMING INDUSTRY

Gov. Deval Patrick at Execution LabsMONTREAL – Thursday, October 10, 2013 – As part of the Massachusetts – Canada Innovation Partnership Mission, Governor Deval Patrick today met with digital gaming start-up companies and industry leaders in Montreal to identify opportunities for collaboration between globally recognized digital and video game clusters in Massachusetts and Canada.

Read the full press release here.

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MassDiGI receives $1.4M grant for New Ventures Center

80 William St.,

80 William St., future home of the MassDiGI NVC at Becker College.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.4 million to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute  to help create the MassDiGI New Ventures Center at Becker College. Please click here to read the press release and stories in the Boston Globe, Gamasutra, GamePolitics, MassLive, DevelopGameSpot, Polygon and Worcester Telegram.

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