Sliptime Sleuth takes grand prize in eighth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest – 2/25/19

Published on Monday, February 25th, 2019

Worcester, MA – February 25, 2019 – Sliptime Sleuth by Sunburst Studio won the Grand Prize in the eighth annual MassDiGI Game Challenge pitch contest this weekend.

Sunburst Studio teamSliptime Sleuth, an isometric, neo-noir puzzle game where the player, a time-traveling detective, slides through time in order to uncover clues and solve a crime, was created by Sunburst Studio, a team made up of six Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) students Tyler B Marcus, Mari Endo, Dylan Valev, Jasmine Duerk, Mackenzie Goldschlager and Karen Hou.

“It was like a dream come true for all of us when Sliptime Sleuth won the Game Challenge,” said Marcus. “If you love making games then this is a must-attend event. You learn so much from the judges and all the other competitors, too.”

The game edged entries from top independent game developers as well as other student game developer teams representing other institutions such as Northeastern University, Champlain College and Becker College. Sliptime Sleuth (gameplay video) will be released on PC next year.

“The feedback we received at the event was outstanding,” said Endo. “We have a much clearer sense of the direction we need to go to produce the game we want to make and how to make it successful.”

Sliptime Sleuth images

The MassDiGI Game Challenge, in its eighth year, helps indie and student game developers and entrepreneurs hone their business focus, shape their ideas and products for launch. This year 37 teams from across the New England registered to compete in front of a packed house at the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Becker College in Worcester.

Other top winners included Feral Frontier (teaser video) which won the Indie Category and People’s Choice Award. The game was created by Beverly, MA-based Dirty Beast Games, a team made up of three independent game developers Josh Cheney, Felicia Santos and Ken McHugh.

“Earning the Indie and People’s Choice honors for Feral Frontier exceeded our expectations,” said Cheney, “This was our first time at the Game Challenge and the experience was amazing.”

Feral Frontier is a retro side-scrolling platformer game for PC featuring an all animal cast in a world where primal nature meets advanced technology. Vibrant pixel art graphics accompany an eclectic synth soundtrack to create an environment where fast paced action, exploration and adventure await.

Feral Frontier splash screen

Since the MassDiGI Game Challenge began, nearly 300 different teams from around northeast 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 community in the area. Over the event’s two days, dozens of game industry veterans served as judges and mentors.

As the Grand Prize and a College & University Group winner, the Sunburst Studio team won cash and other prizes valued at about $5,000.

“This year’s contest was as close a competition as I’ve seen,” said Monty Sharma, managing director of MassDiGI, “Every team was really very impressive and the creativity and skills on display improves every year as do the games.”

The other College & University Group winners were Basic Witch from Becker with Project Birchtree, a mobile game about a laid-back, enchanted latte-throwing barista witch trying to save her town from being overrun by demons. FPS from Northeastern with Fruit Postal Service, is a battle racing game for PC where you play as a member of the FPS and try to pick up and drop off the most packages to become the employee of the month. And, Team Disco*Vision from Champlain with Blood to Ink, a narrative-based murder mystery game for tablet.

CrypticCHAD, a team of Nashua (NH) North students, won the High School Category with Soul Mates, a dating simulator mixed with a role-playing game.

Runner-up awards went to:

Indie Category – Runner-up

  • Snow Pumpkins with Sole Iron Tail

College & University Groups – Runners-up

  • Shatter Journal Games with Floaty Fighters (Becker College)
  • Hard Hats Studio with Maximum House/Property Damage (Becker College)

The complete results are posted here.


About MassDiGI

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is the statewide center for academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Commonwealth’s games ecosystem. Established in 2011 and based in Worcester at Becker College, MassDiGI has launched several initiatives that support entrepreneurship and strengthen the talent pipeline between higher education and the game industry. Well-known initiatives include the Summer Innovation Program LiveStudio and the Game Challenge – all of which bring students and professionals together to work on real projects. For more information, please visit


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