Incubator features NYU developers

Ninja Tag is a murderous fast-paced local multiplayer stealth brawler for Mac and PC.

With a first-date simulator and a murderous ape side-by-side, the second annual NYU Game Center Incubator Showcase saw developers and gamers alike get their first taste of the eight games that have been in development for the last few months. The Incubator program, now in its second year, gives a select few graduating students room to collaborate and work on their projects, as well as access to resources to help develop their games.

Following introductions by Game Center director chair Frank Lantz and incubator program coordinator Dylan McKenzie, the featured developers gave short presentations on the eight unique games developed over the three-month program.

The first student to present was CAS alumnus Kenny Sun, who majored in computer science. “Circa Infinity,” Sun’s platformer revolving around concentric circles, skyrocketed in popularity after a review by YouTuber PewDiePie.

The types of games ranged widely, from basic platformers to online multiplayer games. “BADBLOOD,” which was created by Game Center MFA student Winnie Song, is a game of hide-and-seek in which aggression is drawn out in the player. In contrast, “An Awkward Date,” created by Poly alumnus Abe Gellis and NYU Poly PhD student Fernando de Mesentier Silva, offers gamers the ability to virtually experience
first-date jitters.

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“Sumer,” an MFA thesis project created by Misha Favorov, Sig Gunnarsson, Josh Raab and Geoffrey Suthers, focuses on gathering resources to sacrifice and win favor from the gods and is loosely based on the Sumerian creation myth.

“It brings together this feeling of sitting together and playing a board game while still keeping all of the action and excitement of video games,” Gunnarsson said.

Tisch alum Gabe Cuzzillo illustrated the many stages a game can go through. His own prototype, “Ape Out,” begins as a stealth game about a bald man who experiences paranoid vision and then transitions to a murderous ape that smashes his opponents to the beat of lively jazz music.

Other featured titles were “Ninja Tag,” a fast-paced local multiplayer game that encourages backstabbing, and “Beglitched,” a retro-styled pixelated game in which the player explores an alien computer.

Those who attended the Incubator were also eager to support the developers and offer their feedback. Larry Shen, who graduated from Tisch School of the Arts this past spring, observed that the environment’s welcoming nature makes it easy to be a part of.

“I like this event because it’s a very casual environment but at the same time there’s a lot happening,” Shen said. “It feels like there’s a lot of talent here and people are going places but it’s easy to get involved.”

James Marion, who just finished up his MFA at Tisch, developed the game “Peter Panic,” which features the musical voices of many Broadway stars. He believes part of the value of the Incubator comes from how collaborative of a space it is.

“I don’t think it’s particularly hard to get started but if you are someone like me who has a hard time finding inspiration it was helpful to have a bunch of people around me pushing me,” Marion said. “You get the sense that they benefit from your well-being, kind of like
a family.”

A version of this story appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 8 print edition. Email Kirsten Rischert-Garcia at [email protected]

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