Fur takes grand prize in seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest – 3/6/18

Fur takes grand prize in seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest

Worcester, MA – March 6, 2018 – Fur by Grind Games won the Grand Prize in the seventh annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest this weekend.

Fur, a first person puzzler, where players save cute furballs then nurture and use them to explore and solve problems was created by Grind Games, a team made up of three Becker College students, Tung Vu, Matt Venezia and Jared Braun.

The game, which also won the College & University Beta Category, Best Business Model and Best Audio at the contest, edged entries from student teams representing other institutions such as Champlain College, WPI, Quinsigamond Community College, Northeastern University and Harvard University.  Fur will be released on PC later this year.

Fur game screenshot

“We are excited Fur won the Game Challenge,” said Vu, a junior in game design. “If you have a passion for making games then you really must attend this event. You learn so much not only from the judges but the other competitors, too.”

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps indie and student game developers and entrepreneurs shape their ideas and products for launch. This year 31 teams from across the northeast competed in front of a packed house at the new $7.3 million Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Becker College in Worcester.

“MassDiGI’s focus on fostering new, business-focused talent is what the local game industry needs. They’re an important part of the regional games community,” said contest judge Oleg Brodskiy, a past Game Challenge competitor and COO of the Boston Festival of Indie Games. “Game Challenge alumni have opened their own studios, found jobs at larger studios, or landed in related careers.”

Since the MassDiGI Game Challenge began seven years ago, over 250 different teams from around New England and beyond have pitched games and taken home prizes valued at over $100,000. Top past winners include titles such as Salad Hunt, Intern Astronaut (VR), PWN, Catlateral Damage, Depression Quest, Wobbles and Starlot Derby.

The annual event is a showcase for the expanding game development cluster in the region. Over the event’s two days, dozens of game industry veterans served as mentors and judges.

As the Grand Prize, College & University Beta Category and Best Business Model winners, the Grind Games team won cash and other prizes valued at about $5,000.

“This year’s contest was the tighter than in any previous year,” said Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, “Every team was impressive in its own right. The creativity and skills on display improves every year as do the games.”

Keeper game screenshotOther top winners include Burlington, VT-based Micropup from Champlain College which won the People’s Choice Award for its game Keeper as well as the Serious Category.

“Winning the Serious Category and the People’s Choice Award exceeded our expectations in a big way,” said Alex Frey, Micropup’s team captain. “This is our first trip to the Game Challenge and the experience was incredible.”

Keeper is a 3D platformer with gardening mechanics and is focused around raising awareness for declining bee populations. Through an engaging narrative complete with wildlife friends, the game communicates actionable, real-world tactics to aid local pollinators.

Psychoactive Entertainment, another team made up of Becker College students, won the College & University Alpha Category with a game codenamed Project Boynton where you play as a punk witch and obliterate monsters, harvest their guts and use those guts to craft potions to obliterate more monsters.

Garden, an augmented reality (AR) gardening app, by Sunshine Committee won the Indie Category.

The Best Art award went to Fire Frame with Atlas Excel (Pratt Institute), Best Technical Dystrophic with Hexile (Harvard).

Runner-up awards went to:

Indie Category – Runner-up

  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy

Serious Category – Runner-up

  • Dystrophic with Hexile (Harvard)

College & University Alpha Category – Runner-up

  • Team RGB with Data Strain (QCC)

College & University Beta Category – Runner-up

  • Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

Best Art – Runner-up

  • Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

Best Business Model – Runner-up

  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy


Read the full press release on Gamasutra here.

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2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners! – 3/3/18

2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge winners!

Best Art

Fire Frame with Atlas Excel – winner (Pratt)

Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch – runner-up

Best Design

No winner

Best Technical

Dystrophic with Hexile – winner (Harvard)

Best Business Model

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy – runner-up

Best Audio

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

Serious Category

Micropup with Keeper – winner (Champlain)

Dystrophic with Hexile – runner-up (Harvard)

Indie Category

Sunshine Committee with Garden – winner

ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy – runner-up

College Alpha Category

Psychoactive Entertainment with Project Boynton – winner (Becker)

Team RGB with Data Strain – runner-up (QCC)

College Beta Category

Grind Games with Fur – winner (Becker)

Jinboz with The Palace of Monarch (WPI)

People’s Choice

Micropup with Keeper – winner

Grand Prize

Grind Games with Fur – winner


Stay posted for more information.

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2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge finalists announced – 3/3/18

2018 MassDiGI Game Challenge – Finalists


  • Sunshine Committee with Garden
  • ML Studios with Mythicast Arcane Academy
  • Zen Dragon with Neon Bullet
  • Weeping Witch Studios with Ice and Bone


  • Micropup (Champlain) with Keeper
  • Dystrophic (Harvard) with Hexile
  • Obliti (WPI)

College – Beta

  • Grind Games (Becker) with Fur
  • Starflight Studios (Becker) with Defenders of Atlantis
  • Jinboz (WPI) with The Palace of Monarch

College – Alpha

  • Psychoactive Entertainment (Becker) with Project Boynton
  • Team RGB (QCC) with Data Strain
  • Skerter Industries (Becker) with Exploding Cube


Honorable Mentions

  • Ill Teteka (Becker)
  • Disco Drop (Becker)

Stay tuned for more updates!

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GAME LAUNCH: Batter up! Becker Derby hits the stores – 2/28/18

Batter up! Becker Derby hits the stores

Becker Derby

Baseball and softball fans can now take on Becker’s mascot, Hank the Hawk, and his tricky pitches in an attempt to swing their way to stardom in the newly launched video game, Becker Derby.  The mobile game features Hank as the pitcher challenging players in their quest to hit as many home runs as possible before striking out. The app, produced by Worcester, MA-based studio Maximum Crash which was founded by Becker alumnus Rejon Taylor-Foster ’17, is now live and free to download for Android and iOS users.

“We wanted to find a way to offer students and fans a true baseball and softball experience that could bring them closer to the teams,” said Matt Tittle, Becker’s Assistant Athletic Director for Communications.  “Now, instead of waiting for Spring, our fans can experience the excitement of Becker baseball and softball year-round.”

The full game experience pits players against Hank’s gravity bent pitches, crowds of SEEGull agents, and a dark dimensional force only known as the Void. With some advice from @regalSeagull194, players may stand a chance against the Void’s retro-dimensional universes filled with failed experiments and trapped invaders.

Becker Derby is a collaboration between Maximum Crash studios, the Becker College Athletics Department and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) at Becker.

The Becker baseball team starts its season on Saturday, March 3rd at the New England Baseball Complex against Newbury College at 11:00 a.m.  Becker softball starts on March 11th against UMass Boston at 4:30 p.m.

For additional images and videos of Becker Derby, please click here.

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NVC opening – 2/1/18

MassDiGI New VEntures Center imageFor MassDiGI, not only did January usher in a new year, it ushered in a new era as our New Ventures Center (NVC) opened. As a part of Becker College’s impressive new $7.3 million Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the NVC will give us the opportunity to provide business assistance services to an even greater number of students and startups from campuses and communities across the region with the ultimate goal of seeing more Massachusetts-made games in the marketplace.

In addition, the NVC will serve as a home to select a Company-in-Residence and Faculty-in-Residence. To that extent, we’re very pleased to have Petricore Inc. joining us as our  inaugural Company-in-Residence along with Asst. Prof. Robert Biggert from Assumption College as our inaugural Faculty-in-Residence.

The Barrett Center is also home to Becker’s Yunus Social Business Centre, an AR/VR lab, an esports space, a lecture hall,  a digital gallery, studios, team rooms, faculty offices and MassDiGI’s administrative office.

Generous support for the Barrett Center as well as the NVC came from many foundations and individuals as well from grants provided by the US Dept. of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) and MassDevelopment.

Check out the coverage of the opening semester here: Worcester Telegram, Worcester Business Journal and Worcester News Tonight/NECN.

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Save these dates – 12/14/17

With the New Year just around the corner it’s time to share some important upcoming dates:

  • SIP application period opens 1/2/18 and closes 3/21/18
  • Game Challenge – 3/2/18 and 3/3/18 (competitor registration opens – 12/21/17)
  • Made In MA at GDC – 3/20/18 (RSVP opens 1/26/18)
  • SIP Decision Day – 3/30/18
  • Made In MA at PAX East – 4/5/18 (RSVP opens 2/8/18)
  • SIP Begins – 5/15/18

Stay tuned for more details coming soon!


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Grant gives MassDiGI New Ventures Center a boost – 10/26/17

On October 26, 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded MassDiGI  a $35,000 grant toward the development of our New Ventures Center.

Alan Ritacco and Paul Cotnoir of Becker accept the award on behalf of MassDiGI.

The NVC will serve as an on-campus business assistance center for interactive media, game development, business and technology students from Becker and other higher education institutions across Massachusetts. Through active mentorship with game industry leaders and faculty experts, the NVC will bring students together and provide access to the educational programming, technical assistance, and business development support needed to learn, incubate, and launch products in the global digital marketplace.

The Collaborative Workspace Program awards, a MassDevelopment initiative, seek to strengthen community-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth’s cities and towns, while spurring job creation at the local level. This is the second award MassDiGI has received from the program.

Read more about the award in MassDevelopment’s press release here and in the Worcester Business Journal here, Patch.com here and Worcester Sun here.

*The original version of this post is located at becker.edu.

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When it comes to innovation, MassDiGI is a Game Changer – 10/20/17

Tim Loew, Monty Sharma and Nancy Crimmin with Game Changer award

In a world where innovation and disruption reign, MassDIGI is a key player. That was underscored today by the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce when it presented MassDiGI and executive director Tim Loew with a Game Changer Award.

“MassDiGI has played a major role in the growth of the digital gaming sector in the region and continues to shape the economic landscape of Worcester and Central Massachusetts in a positive and significant way,” said Tim Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce president.  “The Chamber is pleased to recognize MassDiGI for their game changing contribution to the region.”

The award, presented during the Chamber’s annual Game Changers Business Conference and Expo in Worcester’s Mechanics Hall, recognizes the most innovative companies, colleges and start-ups that are transforming and supporting the region’s economy. This year’s theme was the innovation economy and start-ups.

MassDiGI’s Executive Director Tim Loew and Managing Director Monty Sharma were on hand to receive the award.

“We are really proud of the work we do with the many students that we engage with across institutions in the region, the start-ups that we work with, and the communities”, said Tim Loew, MassDiGI’s executive director. “We feel really lucky to have been able to do this in Worcester, and at Becker.”

Also present at this morning’s event was Becker president and MassDiGI advisory board chair Nancy P. Crimmin, Alan Ritacco, dean of the school Design and Technology, and students from MassDiGI’s Live Studio course.

Tim Mammen of IPG Photonics and Shahbaz Soofi of WooRides also received Game Changer awards.

Read more about the award in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette here.

*The original version of this post can be found on becker.edu.

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New England collegiate esports survey – 9/21/17

New England collegiate esports survey

By Tim Loew, executive director, MassDiGI

Over the past year we’ve fielded more and more inquiries about the current state of collegiate esports in Massachusetts and across New England. Though we have some limited information, we thought it’d be a good idea to put out a survey to gain a little better insight into esports on campuses in the region. A link to the survey can be found here (or pasted below).

Please feel free to share the survey with colleagues or friends as you see fit. General results will be aggregated and shared later in the year.



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Conformity vs. experience in the game development process – 8/4/17

Conformity vs. experience in the game development process

By Abdelaziz Ben Yahia, WPI ’18, Fulbright

Game design is heavily dependent on players’ feedback. A team of game developers is pretty tied to their own ideas and creations. Often, developers won’t conform to the rest and will not miss a chance to debate if something doesn’t go along with their beliefs or way of thinking.

However, we will make edits if 1 in 3 testers don’t like our product, even though it does hurt to see your hard work not liked but everyone that tried it.

Now imagine if a tester with 5 + years of experience, gives you negative feedback that contradicts with all the information you collected from all the other players.

Well, what you do, is apply the tips and tricks of the experienced tester.

Playtesting Leap A Head

They are the one that created so many games, tested hundreds for other developers and faced tough challenges doing so. Their advice is trustworthy and worth the risk.

After going through all these steps, you feel that you are totally in a state of “cognitive dissonance” with inconsistent thoughts.

But you should rest assured, if you listen to Bill Gardner from The Deep End Games talk. You must remember “You are going to be wrong … and it’s okay!” The man is the creative director on Perception!

Writing guidelines for our next fellows of MassDigi’s Live Studio is a responsibility.

They will learn from our mistakes and pass on the legacy. Our team’s game Leap A Head is the fruit of 3 months of hard work and teamwork too! Every member contributed with their skills and excellent mindset and we believe the MassDigi’s next generation will make the product even better.

Ultimately, I would say that feedback gave us that confidence and feeling of having people saying Go ahead we got your back! it helped us aim all our effort in the right path, as I once heard a producer from Harmonix say “velocity doesn’t mean closure,” since then, every game or project proved it again .

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