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State hands out annual Game Development Challenge Awards

Apr 12, 2018

Winners from RIT's team Aesthetician Labs

Six teams of student and independent game developers were recognized Thursday during ceremonies at the Strong.

Rochester Institute of Technology's Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity, or MAGIC Center, announced the winners.

25 teams submitted games for the challenge, for the chance to win cash funding and access to  a mentor network plus business incubator sites at RIT, RPI or New York University.

That’s important for Noah Ratcliff of the winning student team from RIT that made a video game about garbage plates called “Crazy Platez.”

He says his team is strong on game development, but they aren’t too familiar with the business side of gaming.

Noah Ratcliff, Sam Cammarata, and Aidin Markham are this year’s student winners from RIT. They developed “Crazy Platez.” They say it’s a mix of Crazy Taxi and Grand Theft Auto 1

“That’s going to be a huge help, that mentorship especially on the business side.  Also having the resources at MAGIC that we already had some access to, but having full access through the incubator program is going to be super indispensable,” he said.

Ratcliff and his team hope to bring their game to the mobile and web marketplace both locally and globally.

RIT President David Munson isn't surprised that a team from RIT has won two years in a row.

“It’s a very strong field, we’re nationally known for our programs in gaming,” he said.

Empire State Development sponsors the annual competition

Vincent Esposito is regional director for the Finger Lakes Office.

He says gaming and digital media has been identified as a strategic opportunity for growth, and RIT is one of three digital hubs statewide.

“Digital media and gaming is one of those new centers of excellence.  It’s a new designation in this year’s state budget, so it’s an exciting opportunity to further promote this growing industry,” he said.

The goal of the program is to bring game ideas from student and independent developers to production.

They received their awards this morning during ceremonies at the Strong.

Winners in the Student Category:

First place: RIT-- Aesthetician Labs: Noah Ratcliff, a third-year game design and development major from Columbus, Ohio; Aidan Markham, a third-year game design and development major from Rochester, NY; and Sam Cammarata, a second-year game design and development major from Holland, NY, for Crazy Platez.

Second place: RIT-- Team Odyssey: Alexander Woodward, a fourth-year game design and development major from Centerville, OH; Stephen Callan, a third-year game design and development major from Pittsburgh; Justine Levine, a third-year game design and development major from Somers, NY; and Edward Opich, a third-year game design and development major from Conesus, NY, for Odyssey.

Third place: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute -- Team Tunacat: Fanghong Dong, a second-year games and simulation arts and sciences major from China; and Hongyang Lin, a second-year games and simulation arts and sciences major from China, for Mastery.

Winners in the Independent Developer Category:

First place: Razbury Games-Dean Razavi, from New York, NY, for From Rust.

Second place: Snow Day Software-Colby Breidenstein and Brian Russ, from Buffalo, NY, for Hovership Havoc.

Third place: Third place: Imaginary Monsters-Peter Lazarski, from Rochester, NY, for Abyxsis.

Vincent Esposito says the state has identified gaming and digital media as strategic opportunities for growth:

RIT president David Munson spoke at the award ceremony held at the Strong: