38 Studios Goes National with Student Game Challenge

38 Studios, the Maynard, MA-based game development house founded by Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, announced today that it’s repeating the “Massachusetts Game Challenge” it launched last year. But the company is extending eligibility beyond New England this time to all U.S. and Canadian college and university students.

The contest is designed to cultivate and highlight talented up-and-coming game developers by challenging them to come up with new video games involving the 38 Studios cartoon mascot, Munch, and its evil twin Mean Munch. Teams of up to three students are given access to art of Munch and Mean Munch and asked to submit finished, executable video games on DVD or CD-ROM by March 2, 2009. The company says it will evaluate submissions based on originality, graphics and artistry, technical achievement, degree of finish, and “fun factor.”

The team that creates the top-ranked game will be awarded $1,500 per team member. The second-place team will receive $1,000 per member and the third-place team will get $500 per member.

Munch\'s Vacation ScreenshotA team from Becker College in Worcester, MA, won first place in last year’s challenge for a game called “Munch’s Vacation.” The game, designed by Andrew Silvernail, Patrick Walley, and James Grant, is a difficult-to-describe takeoff on a cruise vacation that pays homage to classic arcade games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders.

The second-place prize went to Chris Barrett, Chris Gingras, and Alex Gray of NHTI in Concord, NH, for their Flash-based game “Infectious Munch,” in which Munch chases, and is chased by, microbes inside a living organism. Third place went to Morgan Quirk, Andrew Tremblay, and Adrian Mejia of Worcester Polytechnic Institute for their game “Super Munch 2 Turbo.”

38 Studios CEO Brett Close told Xconomy last year that the Game Challenge was intended partly to demonstrate that the Boston area is an emerging powerhouse in video game development. But by extending the contest to all college and university students in the U.S. and Canada, the company stands a better chance of generating excitement about video game development as a career, attracting young developers to potential jobs at 38 Studios, and of course, receiving high-quality game submissions.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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