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.
“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.
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.
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 Workshop – Florafiora
- 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 Games – WurmZilla
- 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.