Each spring, the NYU Game Center Showcase gives seniors in the BFA in Game Design program at the Tisch School of the Arts an opportunity to share their capstone projects with the world. This past year was no different, but there was a change in venue. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—and NYU’s necessary shift to online instruction—the 2020 showcase was broadcast live on the popular streaming platform Twitch. Hundreds of viewers tuned in to the virtual event and were treated to a firsthand look at the creative and innovative chops of NYU game design students.
Hours of Creativity and Insight
This year’s NYU Game Center Showcase featured more than 20 student capstone projects—some solo and some group—and spanned nearly three hours. During the broadcast, each student or group showed their game trailers along with game-play clips. They also had the chance to talk about the games they spent months developing. They shared their inspirations and aesthetic choices and answered questions from NYU Game Center faculty and guests about iterative development, sound design, playtesting, and more.
Games included everything from one-strike fighters and role players to experimental narrative puzzles and garden planters. And while the end of the semester may not have unfolded as anticipated, the showcase provided a perfect example of NYU Game Center students’ ability to adapt in the face of challenges—as well as their unyielding commitment, passion, and hard work.
Take a look at a few of the games presented at the 2020 showcase by NYU Game Center developers.
Birds in Circled Flight
Emma Stone and Oliver Howell developed this point-and-click adventure game. Players follow the game’s characters, Havari and Trevor, across a supernatural version of the United States as they’re chased by a shrouded force.
For Emma and Oliver, the showcase was important because it gave them a platform to share the project they’d been working on for more than a year. And the support they felt was overwhelming. “The NYU Game Center community came together to make the experience as social as possible and to give everyone a chance to connect with one another despite the distance,” they say. “Alumni, faculty, and current students alike were very vocal in their support of the projects, both on social media and during the Twitch stream.”
My Green Age
Team SCRAMP—Spencer Bernstein, Christian Weinschenk, Rowan Wood, Ajali Harrison, McKenna Flanagan, and Parker Crandell—created this meditative ecology game that focuses on incremental personal growth. The game’s story follows an individual who gives up a decade of chronological life and sleeps for a month at a time in order to grow a forest amongst the rubble of an abandoned highway.
“Broadcasting the showcase on Twitch was a lovely way to celebrate the work we’ve done over the course of the past year and share it with the greater NYU community,” says SCRAMP. “Preparing for the event was a great experience, and it gave us a chance to learn how to articulate the ideas behind our project. We’re excited to continue working on this project after graduation.”
Have a look at the My Green Age trailer.
after us, the flood
A collaborative effort by Sammy Chuang, Rachel Geng, Valentine Morin, and Ian Ouellette, after us, the flood is a narrative game that utilizes rhythm mechanics to explore themes of stagnation and moving forward in life.
In spite of the shift to online learning, the team is proud of how well it stuck together to accomplish its goal. “We all knew what we had to do each week,” says Ian. “We stuck to our deadlines, communicated well, and supported one another. There was never a point when I didn’t feel like we were making progress and keeping things under control.” This type of collaborative effort was especially impactful for Valentine. “We all learned so much in terms of technical skills, but being able to work well together and form a welcoming team environment were my biggest takeaways from the experience,” Valentine says.
Check out the full schedule of games presented at the 2020 NYU Game Center Showcase, many of which you can demo or play at itch.io.