Made in Phoenix: Devs showcase work at Indie Game Demo Day

Alex Osuna, above, demonstrates the mechanics of Zwarms, a science-based RTS for mobile devices.

Game developers from around the Valley shared their work with the community Sunday night at an indie game showcase in Scottsdale.

Game CoLab hosted the event, Made in Phoenix 2: Indie Game Demo Day, as part of the Phoenix Film Festival.

The purpose of the event was to give the public a chance to “check out and support the hard work local video game developers have been up to,” according to a Game CoLab email.

“It’s a community thing,” said Ben Ruiz of Phoenix-based Team Colorblind. “I like setting up and talking to people. I do the local stuff because it’s fun.”

Ruiz attended the event to demo Aztez, a hybrid real-time strategy and fighting game set in the Aztec empire. The game tasks the player with managing an empire while handling uprisings and other challenges through fighting sequences, Ruiz said.

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Grave developer talks survival horror, Oculus VR, Kickstarter

A group of Tempe-based developers has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Grave, an open-world survival horror title with randomized gameplay and surrealistic elements.

Tristan Parrish Moore, creative director, spoke with Arizona Gamer about Grave, its use of Oculus Rift, the Facebook buyout, and Kickstarter campaigns as a whole.

“We’ve heard people refer to Grave as Alan Wake meets Amnesia,” he said in an interview with Arizona Gamer. “It’s a reasonable comparison.”

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What is gamification? Mindspace explains

The term “gamification” means different things to different people.

To me, gamification meant games like Spent, which challenges the player with surviving poverty and homelessness. The ultimate goal of Spent is to pay rent at the end of the month, but along the way it forces you to choose between, for example, putting a healthy meal on the table or keeping the heat running.

While that’s a poignant example of the power of gamification, the concept can be applied to countless other areas, according to Don Low, director of marketing for local agency Mindspace.

For the uninitiated, gamification refers to the use of game logic and mechanics in non-game concepts. Applications of gamification can improve user engagement, motivate exercise, improve learning, increase data quality and more.

 

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The 5 best cancelled video games

The Witcher 3 has been pushed to 2015. It’s always scary when a game is delayed, because it opens up the possibility of cancellation. Whether the result of a developer meltdown, financial problems or blatant mismanagement, there are a few games gamers miss more than others. Here’s a list of the five cancelled games that showed the most potential before their untimely demise.

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Arizona Gamer reviews Banished

“The worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzche

City-building strategy game Banished is a testament to individual accomplishment. Luke Hodorowicz of Shining Rock Software created the game by himself over the course of several years. While the game certainly isn’t perfect, its success is a testament to power of hard work and determination.

Banished breaks down the city-building genre to its most basic form. Its minimalistic approach is refreshing and it presents the player with the simple goal of keeping his citizens alive. It’s true that beyond survival, the game lacks depth, and its replay value is limited. But there’s an appealing quality to the game’s simplicity that is strengthened by a quality soundtrack and pleasing aesthetic.

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Phoenix developers participate in Global Game Jam

Kyle, left, and Alex Uithoven created E.Y.E.R.I.S. during the Phoenix Global Game Jam.

By Alex Ferri

It took developers 15 years to complete Duke Nukem Forever. Last weekend, teams participating in the Phoenix Global Game Jam had just 48 hours.

Global Game Jam is a worldwide gaming event that tasks developers with creating a game in the span of a weekend. More than 4,000 locations participated this year; Ben Reichert, cofounder of GameCoLab, hosted the Phoenix event.

This was the first year for the Phoenix event, held on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus Jan. 24-26. The University of Advancing Technology in Tempe has held Global Game Jams for the past several years, Reichert said.

“I wanted to try and get ASU and others involved by offering another location,” he said.

More than 100 people signed up for the Global Game Jam between the two locations; 89 at UAT and 47 at ASU.

While not all those who signed up attended, “game jammers” put together eight teams for the Phoenix event. Those teams ranged in size from two to six as well as in experience.

Each team had to fill the roles of programmer, designer, artist and more. Reichert said having a dedicated programmer is ideal, but recent rule changes allowed the creation of tabletop as well as digital games.

None of the teams at this year’s event chose that route, but Reichert said it highlighted how anyone could play a role in making a game.

“Each game plays to the strengths of the teams,” he said.

Most groups worked from the space at ASU the entire time; some even slept there, Reichert said.

The theme of this year’s Global Game Jam, announced just before it began, was “perspective.”

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League of Legends: ASU eSports enters Collegiate Championship

Eric Piispanen, left, poses with Alex Ich, middle, and Genja, members of competitive League of Legends team Gambit Gaming.

By Alex Ferri

Eric Piispanen thinks of competitive League of Legends as a game of chess.

“Your goal is basically to predict and outplay your opponent, not through mechanics, but through being in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Piispanen is coordinator for the League of Legends teams of the Arizona State University eSports Association. League of Legends, the massively popular online battle arena title from Riot Games, is one of several games played competitively at ASU and across the globe.

When Riot Games announced its North American Collegiate Championship on Jan. 7 that would pit the best college teams against each other for a chance at a $100,000 prize pool of scholarship funds, Piispanen, summoner name iamanelf, started putting a team together.

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Arizona gaming news by Alex Ferri