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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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48-Hour video game craze

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Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel

The winning team, Oddbird Studio, from Canada at Chillennium 2017 with their game ‘Bag Box.’ 

Planning, designing and creating a video game in two days may sound close to unthinkable, but not for the roughly 300 participants in this weekend’s Chillennium game jam.
Chillennium, a 48-hour video game competition began in 2014 without an official name with around twenty competitors. Now the largest student-run game jam in the world, it has grown into an internationally recognized competition that gives college students the opportunity to create a video game based on a given theme.
The theme this year was role-reversal. Game ideas included human-eating ice cream cones, boxing punching bags and people of Earth destroying inhabitants of Mars. The competition included designated times for provided meals and students could rest at any point in the duration of allotted time.
The results were announced Sunday night and the winning team, Oddbird Studio, included members Shae Humphries, Joshua Cappelli, Cody Romphf and Benjamin Scott from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
“Our game is called ‘Bag Box,’” Humphries said. “This was a game where two people share one controller, take on the role of boxing punching bags and beat the fluff out of each other.”
The second place team from A&M, Netflix and Chill’em, included Travis Stebbins, Meena Subramanian and Stephanie Sykara created a game titled ‘Its Gonna Getcha.’
The competition facilitated several disciplines. Each team consisted of four people who contributed their skill sets. From programming, to visualization, virtual reality, to computer science, the video game competition had something
for first-timers and experienced game creators alike.
Ashlyn Chatelain, business management junior and public relations chair for Chillennium, said she hopes the event provides a creative atmosphere for students’ minds to flow. She added that her goal was to make the weekend memorable and to provide fun for game enthusiasts.
“We’re trying to give everyone a really good time,” Chatelain said. “We want people to have a good experience when creating video games and have the mentorship experience. We have a ton of judges and mentors coming from the industry. They are here to help people along through their endeavors as they tackle this beast.”
According to the Chillenium website, mentors included A&M professors and industry game designers.
Jonathan Westerfield, a computer science senior, went into the competition without any previous game creating knowledge. Although he doesn’t plan to enter the game production industry, Westerfield said he hopes A&M will eventually create a software development degree to facilitate those who do.
“[The computer science degree] is more about kind of building the infrastructure of computers versus using computers to actually make something. That’s the vibe I get from it,” Westerfield said. “If there was a track like that or a degree like that, maybe I would see game-making like this or software development would be a huge thing.”
Sierra Richardson, visualization junior, said her team applied the role-reversal theme to a soccer game.
“We are making a game where you play as the soccer ball in a soccer game and your goal is to not let either team score,” Richardson said. “You have different power-ups to aid you in avoiding the goals, like a grappling hook, shooting flames, turning into lead so no one can kick you or move you and being able to bounce really high.”
A component of Chillenium is that the video game must be made from scratch during the 48-hour period, according to Mae Dolan, visualization senior; however, originality is not the sole challenge.
“Completion will be the hardest thing to overcome,” Dolan said. “If you complete your game and win, there will be some cash prizes. But a lot of people just come here for experience and to have fun.”
As the first day passed and the last half of the competition began, students found couches and chairs that line the halls of the MSC and slept. Some students didn’t make it to a couch and fell asleep on their keyboards.
“The second day of a 48 hour game jam is very peculiar,” computer science senior Bradley Kern said. “Most people are mentally and physically destroyed, but it’s really weird because usually like in the last 10 hours of the game jam, you do more work than the rest of it combined.”
Matthew Reeves, computer science senior, said he loves Chillenium and all this event entails.
“I love video games,” Reeves said. “What better way to apply a logical thought process than to something I am passionate about already.”

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  • Texas A&M team Netflix and Chill ’em placed second in this years competition. Team members include senior visualization majors Travis Stebbins, Meena Sunramanian, and Stephanie Sykora (not pictured).

    Photo by Photo by C. Morgan Engel
  • Over the past four years, Chillennium has grown to have a total of 365 total participants. 

    Photo by Photo by Cristian Aguirre
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