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Morrisville State College to Host Global Game Jam, Seeks Participants For January 2010 Event

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—Innovative minds, laptop computers, collaborative ideas and a 48-hour timeframe—these are just some of the components of a global event that’s generating buzz on the Morrisville State College campus.

The college will be part of the 2010 International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Global Game Jam (GGJ) that takes place all over the world Jan. 29-31, hosting teams on its campus for the first time.

Registration is being accepted now for anyone interested in participating (must be 18 years and older) at the Morrisville State College site.

Game Jam brings artists, programmers and designers together to spend a weekend working intensely to develop and design video games. Participants with varying levels of skill and experience will be given a theme and then break into teams and work for 48 hours designing a new game from scratch without any outside help. Teams will be formed on-site.

When it is all said and done, more than 1,000 games will have been created around the world during the international competition which takes place simultaneously in 89 locations across 23 countries. Results will be judged by industry professionals.

Ken Stokes, of Connecticut, an information technology: application software development bachelor degree major at Morrisville State College, is already pretty savvy at designing games and hopes to create one that will stand out.
His general strategy is to have a pre-designed code that is generic but he is careful about divulging other tricks he has up his sleeve.

John Fecteau, of Syracuse, an information technology: application software development major, hopes to contrive a game that is fun and has playability. He knows visual design, creativity and functionality go hand-in-hand with his plan.

Fecteau and Stokes have honed their skills in designing games through courses offered at the Morrisville State College campus.

“Courses enhance students’ programming skills while tapping into their creativity,” Dr. Richard Marcoux, assistant professor in Morrisville State College’s Computer Information Technologies Department, said.

“It’s a creative educational experience for me that also allows me to pick up a different (computer) language,” Stokes said.

The courses are great preparation for the upcoming game jam, which was made possible through an Enitiative grant received by Marcoux.

Enthusiasm is being generated from all walks of campus, not only to partake in the game jam, but also to assist on the sidelines.

Students in the college’s MSCEI program have pitched in designing a Web site specifically for the event.

While the event offers participants a challenge and ways to explore their creativity and common passion, it also lets them network with expert gamers and game designers.

“It is a way to get people together to promote entrepreneurial spirit and to get involved in the community,” Marcoux said.

All finished games from the Global Game Jam will be archived onto a Game Jam Web site for all to play.

For more information or to register to participate at the Morrisville State College game jam site, go to webdev.morrisville.edu/~ggj2010, call Dr. Marcoux at 684-6788 or e-mail him at marcourp@morrisville.edu.

Enitiative, funded by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, focuses on entrepreneurship in the arts, technology and neighborhoods, with the goal of creating a culture of entrepreneurship to improve the economic climate in Central New York. The program is being brought to life by a coalition of partner schools including Morrisville State College.

Morrisville State College offers more than 80 bachelor and associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers associate degree programs in accounting, business, computer systems technology, office administration, liberal arts transfer, nursing, early childhood, criminal justice and human services to south central New York residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.

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