Game Design Program Wins at IndieCade

ComArtSci’s Department of Media and Information isn’t just making waves in rankings as the number one game design program in the Big Ten. They’re also winning awards for their games at IndieCade, the game-design world’s equivalent to the Sundance Festival.

Plunder Panic

The Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab’s game Plunder Panic raked in the 2017 Audience Choice Award. The game was developed last summer and premiered at the Traverse City Film Festival.

Plunder Panic is a multiplayer arcade game that follows the exhilarating lives of pirates. Think of that iconic battle scene from Pirates and the Caribbean when The Black Pearl faced off with the Flying Dutchman— there’s plenty of action on the open seas.  

“We showcased Plunder Panic as part of a MSU booth at IndieCade,” said Brian Winn, Director of the GEL Lab and executive producer and lead designer of the game. “Having a strong MSU presence at the festival demonstrated that MSU is an elite game program doing interesting work and creating student talent that is impacting the world. We had many visitors to the booth that were not aware of the strength of our game program and we turned a lot of heads.”

Winn believes the game won over the audience not only because of its theme, but its ability to bring people together to defeat a common enemy while engaging in humorous role-playing. 

“While dead men tell no tales, a Plunder Panic play session is bound to lead to many tales of swashbuckling adventures on the high seas,” Winn said. 

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Elizabeth LaPensée, assistant professor in Media and Information, was a writer for the Developer’s Choice Award Winner Where the Water Tastes Like Wine

Where the Water Tastes Like Wine is a single-player game that centers around the journeys and stories of characters during the Great Depression. The lead programmer of the game was Johnnemann Nordhagen, who asked LaPensée to be a writer on the game. 

“I am honored that I was included as a writer by designer and programmer Nordhagen, who pushes the definition of games through gameplay that focuses on collecting stories,” LaPensée said. 

As the Game Design and Development program continues to grow and thrive, ComArtSci is proud to see our talented students and faculty recognized for their work. 

By Rianna Middleton