The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, GameStop, The Guildhall at SMU Announce Judging Panel for Indie Game Challenge Entries

Jan 14, 2010, 17:05 ET from The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS)

More than 40 Industry Influencers to Judge Inaugural Game Development Contest; Winners to Receive More Than $350,000 in Prizes

DALLAS, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judging is underway for the first Indie Game Challenge(SM) sponsored by The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) and GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME).  The 12 non-professional and professional finalists out of more than 250 submissions in this inaugural video game design competition are expected to be announced February 1, 2010.

The Indie Game Challenge offers more than $350,000 in prize monies and scholarships, as well as the tremendous opportunity for the finalists to present their game ideas in person to video game executives from top publishers such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronics Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, NAMCO/Bandai, THQ and Ubisoft at the D.I.C.E.(TM) (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit.  D.I.C.E. is an annual conference hosted by the AIAS dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment. These meetings will allow competitors to receive valuable input and have the opportunity to explore commercial avenues for their games.  Five members from each of the 12 finalist teams will attend the awards reception Feb. 19, 2010, at the Red Rock Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The volunteer judging panel is made up of gaming icons, veterans and up-and-coming professionals representing AIAS's membership base, including such noteworthy individuals as:

  • Danny Bilson, executive vice president, Core Games, THQ, who has strong roots in the creative community as both a screenwriter and director for TV and film, and is responsible for THQ's slate of games
  • Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago, co-founders, thatgamecompany, creators of the unique and ethereal games Flow and Flower ,who along with their small team, are changing people's perceptions of what makes a great game
  • Kyle Gabler, co-founder and creative director of 2D Boy, and part of the team that co-created the wildly successful World of Goo
  • Rod Ferguson, executive producer, Epic Games, who is part of the team of game-making heavyweights responsible for the Gear of War franchise
  • Alex Seropian, vice president creative development, Disney Interactive, co-founder of Bungie Studios and one of the fathers of Halo
  • Roger Hector, senior vice president product development, Namco Bandai, automotive design guru, responsible for launching 100-plus titles in his career within the interactive industry
  • Tina Kowalewski, director of external development, Sony Computer Entertainment America, responsible for finding new talent and new games for Sony
  • Representatives also include publishers and developers from Microsoft, Capcom, Harmonix, Volition, Insomniac, id Software, Zipper Interactive and Vigil Games

"We're in our second round of evaluations, so we're seeing the cream of the crop," said Matthew Lee Johnston, senior producer, PopCap.  "It's amazing how polished some of the games are and the fun experiences they offer.  The hardest part has been finding the time to play them all as much as I'd personally want, but I'll definitely rectify that on my own time after the competition is completed."

"We had no trouble finding highly qualified gaming professionals willing to donate their time to this unique challenge," said Joseph Olin, president, AIAS.  "Not only were we pleased with the total number of entries we received, the overall quality of the submissions far exceeded our expectations.  Judges are currently pouring over each and every entry, and I don't envy the task they face in culling the list down to 12 finalists by the end of the month."

"We committed to each entrant that their game would be thoroughly evaluated and played by qualified judges from the world of gaming, and that's what's happening now," said Mike Hogan, senior vice president of marketing, GameStop.  "The 12 finalist games will be representative of some of the most innovative and creative ideas in gaming today as judged by the best in the business."

For more information on the competition, visit

CONTACT:  Geri Gordon Miller of Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, +1-818-876-0826 x202,; Charles Hodges of GameStop Corp., +1-817-722-7311,; or Ron Jenkins of The Guildhall at SMU, +1-972-473-3546,

SOURCE The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS)