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Indie Game Challenge

Judging panel lined up, with finalists to be announced on January 25th.

DALLAS, TX – (Jan. 14, 2010) – Judging is currently underway for the Indie Game ChallengeSMsponsored 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 the more than 250 submissions in this inaugural video game design competition are expected to be announced Jan. 25, 2010.

The Indie Game Challenge offers more than $350,000 in prize monies and scholarships – including the unique opportunity for the finalists to present their game ideas in face-to-face meetings with premier video game developers and publishers at the D.I.C.E.™ Summit (Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain) Summit hosted by the AIAS in Las Vegas in February. The D.I.C.E. Summit is an annual conference dedicated to exploring approaches to the creative process and artistic expression as they uniquely apply to the development of interactive entertainment.

Mathew Lee Johnson, senior producer for PopCap, is one of more than 40 judges reviewing contest entries, and he said he has been surprised by the overall quality of the games. “We’re in our second round of evaluations, so we’re seeing the cream of the crop,” Johnson said. “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.”

Mike Hogan, GameStop’s senior vice president of marketing, said, “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. 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.”

The distinguished volunteer judging panel is composed of veteran and up-and-coming professionals and gaming icons representing AIAS’s membership base. This includes 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; and Kyle Gabler, co-founder and creative director of 2D Boy, and part of the team that co-created the wildly successful World of Goo.

Additional judges include: 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; as well as representatives from publishers and developers including Microsoft, Capcom, Harmonix, Volition, Insomniac, id Software, Zipper Interactive and Vigil Games.

Two members from each of the 12 finalist teams will attend the awards reception Feb. 19, 2010, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. Each finalist team will receive the opportunity to pitch their game ideas face-to-face to executives from top publishers such as Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Microsoft, NAMCO/Bandai, THQ and Ubisoft. These meetings will allow competitors to receive valuable input and have the opportunity to explore commercial avenues for their games. For more information on the competition, visit www.IndieGameChallenge.com.

About the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences

The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS) was founded in 1996 as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of the interactive arts. The Academy’s mission is to promote and advance common interests in the worldwide interactive entertainment community; recognize outstanding achievements in the interactive arts and sciences; and conduct an annual awards show (Interactive Achievement Awards) to enhance awareness of the interactive art form. The Academy also strives to provide a voice for individuals in the interactive entertainment community. More information can be found at http://www.interactive.org

About GameStop Corp.

Headquartered in Grapevine, TX, GameStop Corp., a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company, is the world's largest video game and entertainment software retailer. The company operates 6,457 retail stores in 17 countries worldwide. The company also operates an e-commerce site, GameStop.com, and publishes Game Informer ® magazine, a leading multi-platform video game publication. GameStop Corp. sells new and used video game software, hardware and accessories for video game systems from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. In addition, the company sells PC entertainment software, related accessories and other merchandise. General information on GameStop Corp. can be obtained at the company's corporate website: http://www.gamestopcorp.com.

About The Guildhall at SMU

The Guildhall at Southern Methodist University is the premier graduate video game education program in the U.S. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. In six years, the program has graduated over 300 students, and alums work at more than 80 video game studios around the world, with several graduates now serving in leadership positions. SMU offers both a Master’s degree and a graduate Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in art creation, level design, and software development. For more information, please visit www.smu.edu



Geri Gordon Miller

Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences

(818) 876-0826 x202


Charles Hodges

GameStop Corp.

(817) 722-7311


Ron Jenkins

The Guildhall at SMU

(972) 473-3546


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GamesIndustry International


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