USC Games program competes at Getty Game Jam

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first_imgMembers of the USC Games program spent the evening of Feb. 21 at the J. Paul Getty Museum designing games to enhance visitors’ experience of the museum.From 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 to 5 p.m. on the following day, 30 members of USC Games worked together in a conference room at the Getty. Their challenge was to create games that encouraged visitors to carefully examine the artwork.USC Games is a student-led organization that congregates individuals who express interest in game design. Students majoring in computer science (games) in the Viterbi School of Engineering or in the School of Cinematic Arts’s interactive entertainment major automatically become part of the organization.The group, however, is not limited to students within these specific majors. Any student with an interest in game design can join the organization. Currently, many students in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Marshall School of Business also take part in USC Games.Michael Francisco, a junior majoring in critical studies, is an active member of the games program. Francisco described the program as a way for students from different fields to come together and increasing viewer engagement in the arts.“[USC Games is] a collaboration of students that wish to make entertainment interactive,” Francisco said.Tracy Fullerton, director of USC Game Innovation Lab, described how the idea of Global Game Jam originated. Game Jam is a startup weekend in which individuals get together to brainstorm ideas and work on a project to develop video games between the span of 24 to 72 hours.“Representatives of the Getty came to talk to the members of USC Games about civic engagement,” Fullerton said. “I followed up with them to see if our students could work with them and possibly hold a game jam at the museum. They really liked the idea.”Susan Edwards, a senior writer and editor of the news and web department at the Getty, explained that this was the first time the museum had hosted this type of event.“We have never hosted a Game Jam and we also have never had people spend the night here,” Edwards said.It was also the first time members of USC Games experienced the Game Jam event in a museum setting.“We do jams at USC every month, but this is the first time we go somewhere else,” Fullerton said.Though Edwards expected the prototypes of the games to be more digital, the Getty did not set any limitations in regards to the platforms that the games would be on.Colleen Dimmer, a senior majoring in interactive entertainment, described her night at the museum.“Last night, a group of us watched the sunset and then took a dusk stroll through the park,” Dimmer said. “Those of us that spent the night enjoyed a few brief hours of sleep on the floor. However, between the goodie bags of late-night snacks and the endless coffee, I don’t think I’ll ever attend such a well-provided Game Jam again.”On Sunday, a panel of judges reviewed the students’ projects. Among the judges were Todd Martens, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who writes about interactive entertainment; Sara Thacher, a transmedia producer and experience designer and Peter Marx, first chief innovation technology officer for the city of Los Angeles.Fullerton stated her aspirations with this project.“It’s amazing how deep every piece at the Getty is,” Fullerton said. “We hope that with the games that the students develop, we can help visitors engage with the pieces of art more deeply.”last_img

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