By Timothy Loew
This past weekend, Little Worlds Interactive, a Boston-based independent educational game development studio, 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 arithmetic skills in a charmingly playful and engaging way.
"We are so excited to be heading home with the Grand Prize and category honors," said Jenna Hoffstein, Little Worlds Interactive's founder. "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, educational or learning game has won the 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 really fun first-person cat simulator. The goal of the game is for the cat to knock as many of its owner's possessions onto the ground as possible.
Winning the inaugural High School category was a team of enthusiastic students from Millbury Memorial High School with Wasteland Trials. Runner-up in that category was a team from Newton South High School with Wonderful Nightmares.
80HD Games, a student start-up from Becker College, won the College Entertainment Game Prototype category for its reverse tower defense game, Bümbardia. This is the second time in three years that 80HD Games has won that category.
Serious Game Concept, Indie Entertainment Concept and College Entertainment Concept category-winning awards went to Giant Otter Technologies for Bread and Roses, Stimpaq Studios for Virtuoso Vengeance and Becker’s Spaghetti Flavored Cake for String Theory.
Indie runners-up went to Now and Zen Studios for Big Bat Baseball, Golden Hammer Software for Big Mountain Snowboarding 2, Spherical Cow Games for Stickman: The Dungeons of Math and PBn’ Games for Zeebi Zoo. An Indie honorable mention went to Subaltern Games for No Pineapple Left Behind.
College runners-up went to Mustachio Games, a team of Binghamton and Northeastern University students, for Red Survivor and Double Trouble, a team of Becker students, for Duo. College honorable mentions went to teams from Champlain College, Becker and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
The Game Challenge helps indie, start-up and student game development entrepreneurs sharpen their ideas, pitches and products for launch. This year, 45 teams from around the northeast met with game industry mentors, listened to talks, played games and competed in front of a full-house at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge. The annual contest is a key showcase for the growing game industry cluster in the region. A cadre of game industry veterans served as mentors and judges for the competition.
The event was made possible through the support of sponsors including Microsoft, GSN Games, MassTech Collaborative’s Innovation Institute, Greenberg Traurig, Muzzy Lane Software, Turbine, Becker College, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, Adyen, FableVision, Proletariat, Ubisoft Montreal, Dejobaan Games, RockStar New England, Execution Labs, PAX East, Wacom, Great Eastern Technology, Adobe and the ESA Foundation.
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