Becker Student Team 80HD Games Takes MassDiGI Game Challenge Honors in College Entertainment Category

Published on Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Bumbardia screenshotBecker College student start-up 80HD Games (Ali Swei, Andrew Niemi, Brian Brannan, and Jonathan Niemi) won the 2014 MassDiGI Game Challenge College Entertainment Game Prototype category for its reverse tower defense game, Bümbardia.

On their website,, the team says, “After working on Bümbardia™ for almost a year, it feels great to be appreciated for all the work we have been putting in, and where it all started too!”

Another Becker team, Spaghetti Flavored Cake (Czar Oliver Awat), won the College Entertainment Concept category award for the game, String Theory. The Becker team Double Trouble (Mathew Black, Colin Egan, Joshua Fitzsimmons, Curtis Geter, Timothy Gottlieb, and Jason Tripp) placed as a College runner-up for the game Duo. Two additional Becker teams, Subconscious Games (Daniel Covey), and k^2 (Ian Hunter, Yuka Ninohira, and Mathew Williams), received College honorable mentions.

“We are proud of the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, knowledge, and education of our game design and development students,” said Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. “Their engagement at Becker, both inside and out of the classroom, is a testament to these qualities, which allow them to compete and collaborate with indie game developers and industry mentors, and present on a national scale at such events as PAX East and the Game Developers Conference. Each year they raise the bar on the present and future of the digital games industry.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of our students,” said Becker College Director of Design Programs, Paul D. Cotnoir, Ph.D. “Becker College game students never fail to amaze me. These are not students who come to Becker and decide they want to be video game designers – these students imagine their future long before they arrive on campus. We are just the catalyst that helps them to convert their imagination and passion into practical success.”

“For students to succeed they need the chance to do real things and interact with experts in a professional environment; that is exactly what we are doing with the Game Challenge, and we are seeing the results,” said Monty Sharma, MassDiGI’s managing director. “We have seen an increasing level of quality and passion in the Game Challenge competitors, which makes us very optimistic about the future of the area’s industry.

80HD Games took the same prize, as well as the title of Best Game Concept, in the 2012 MassDiGI Game Challenge for the game, Nano SwarmThe Boston Globe reported that Nano Swarm was, “cited for its vivid graphics and the potential to be played on touch-screen devices such as the iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc.”

In advance of its commercial release, 80HD Games will offer Bümbardia up for game play at PAX East, the largest games show on the East Coast, April 11-14, 2014, at the Becker College booth.

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps indie, start-up and student game development entrepreneurs hone their ideas and products for launch. This year 45 teams consisting of indie game developers and students from around the northeast competed in front of a full house on March 7 and 8 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. The event is a key showcase for the growing game industry cluster in the region. A cadre of video game industry veterans served as judges for the competition.