Screenburn at SXSW Game Design Competition awards fresh ideas

The inaugural ScreenBurn at SXSW Game Design Competition was created to help aspiring game makers outline their dream video games. Entrants first submitted a single sentence describing their game ideas.  The selected finalists then gave short presentations at SXSW Interactive in Austin to a panel of industry professionals.  The winners received trophies and limited edition Resident Evil 5 Xbox 360 Elite game consoles.

The competition was split into two reward categories: casual and AAA, or major release games.  Winners were decided scientifically through audience applause.

Seth Smith, an undergraduate game design major at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), won the AAA Game competition with “Project Z.E.U.S.” an eco-conscious world building game where players control a robot to rebuild a pollution-filled, post-apocalyptic Earth.

Smith wanted the game to be an issue-driven, cautionary tale. “I decided to take a look at how the ecosystem’s going,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of talk in the news about how global warming’s not real. [Project Z.E.U.S.] would maybe bring the issue to the forefront.”

Fellow SCAD student Gwen Murray won the Casual Game category with “Sloppy Ice,” a game about a water droplet that can switch between a solid, gas and liquid to fight enemies.

The casual game competition was judged by Morgan Romine (Ubisoft, Frag Doll gaming team), Harvey Smith (Arkane Studios) and James Portnow (Divide By Zero Games).  The AAA competition was judged by Raphael Colantonio (Arkane Studios), Chris Charla (Foundation 9 Entertainment), Souris Hong-Porretta (Entertainment Media Ventures) and Kain Shin (International Game Developers Association).

The other AAA finalist entries included Kristen Boyett’s “CoverUp,” Evonne Heyning’s “ManorMeta” and Jill Taffett’s “Ringmaster.” The Casual finalists included Jeffery Paffendorf’s “Blorst,” Andrew Howard’s “FLOAT” and Deborah Colon’s “Full Moon Manor.”