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Contributed by Melissa Gattine on 03/30/2011
A group of Ithaca College students known as (IC)^2 won first place in the Microsoft “We <3 Games” event in February. Little did they know their win would allow them to meet the President of Microsoft North America.
(IC)^2 members are part of the Ithaca College Game Developers Club and include Ashley Alicea, Corey Jeffers, Evan Marinaro, and Marc Howard.
Sponsored by Microsoft and RIT Interactive Games & Media, the "We <3 Games" game design and prototype competition was held at Rochester Institute of Technology in February. The challenge was to build a video game in 48 hours related to the theme "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems." The competition is similar to the annual Global Gam Jam. Fourteen teams from several schools, including Cornell and RIT, developed games for Windows, Xbox, Windows Phone 7, and the web.
Ithaca College’s team came out in first place with Embryonic, a prenatal-themed game in HTML5. They received special recognition for being the only ones who created an HTML5 game as well as creating the game without any prior knowledge or experience with the markup language. As the winners of the competition, they received an Xbox360 and Kinect bundle, games, game development software, computer hardware, and other prizes, which are now being used by the college's video game club, IC Gamers.
In March, the team traveled to New York City to meet Robert Youngjohns, Microsoft NA President.
“It was amazing.” Alicea said of meeting NA President, Robert Youngjohns. “We only had a short time to meet with him, but we pitched our game and he was very impressed by it. We were praised by him and others at the event for tastefully touching on such serious issues regarding prenatal health.”
Embryonic has made it into the semi-finals of the Global Imagine Cup’s web game division. The students behind the game are hard at work, and hope to make it to the finals. They are the only semi-finalists in the division representing the United States.
Dennis Charsky, assistant professor and coordinator of the Communication Management and Design major, advises the Game Developers Club.
Photo: Ithaca College students pitching their game idea to the Microsoft NA President, Robert Youngjohns (center in green tie). Ashley Alicea (left) with Corey Jeffers and Evan Marinaro (demonstrating the game).