Current Winners



RyanBobellRyan Bobell (they/them) is a narrative designer and producer who values honest and personal storytelling above all else. They also love to write, direct, and edit short and feature films. Ryan is currently wrapping up their final semester at USC where they are earning two degrees, one in Interactive Entertainment and one in Film & Television Production. Sneak up behind them and you may overhear them whispering [shouting] about The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’s near perfect narrative design.

LuisBritoLuis Brito is a student at George Mason University currently pursuing his Bachelor’s in Computer Game Design. Inspired by the designers of the 80’s and 90’s, Luis loves taking the opportunity to incorporate his coding, design, and sense of humor into his work. From point and click adventures, to 4X strategy, his games have been exhibited at many conventions including MAGFest and BFIG. Whenever Luis isn’t leading his IGDA Chapter, he enjoys tinkering with VR, studying history, and working towards eventually running the Ninja Warrior course. Luis dreams of teaching game design and making bad jokes as a University Professor.

RukiaBrooksRukia Brooks studies Computer Science at the University of South Carolina and is a charter member of the Carolina Gamers Club and the South Carolina Game Developers Coalition. In 2015, her game Color Collisions received the Best Student Award at Indie Bits, a southeastern interactive media festival that promotes inclusivity. After graduation, Rukia plans to start an indie studio that creates games that celebrate diversity. Through both her game development and her community engagement, she hopes to empower people from all walks of life to express themselves.

JulieDaCostaJulie da Costa is an artist and storyteller studying 3D modelling in the Game Development program at George Brown College in Toronto. She is interested in environmental issues, and believes that games should be addressing important subjects like pollution and wildlife destruction, and that Game Developers can bring about positive change through story and play. She works as a peer tutor, and aspires to become a game art teacher where she can inspire future generations. In her spare time, she volunteers as an Urban Park Ranger, where she helps bring communities together, and outside to appreciate parks and other green spaces.

MattDobillMatt Dobill is a law student in his final year at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. He researched under Prof. Robert Brain and contributed to the second edition of the casebook, “Videogame Law: Cases, Statutes, Forms, Problems, and Materials”. Matt’s comment, “Leveling (Up) the Playing Field: A Policy-Based Case for the Legalization and Regulation of Gambling in Esports” is forthcoming publication in Volume 37.2 of the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review. Matt is currently an intern at the law firm of Morrison / Lee, and in his free time enjoys being bad at Overwatch and League of Legends.

EvelinaFoxbergEvelina Foxberg is a Game design & Graphics student currently in her third year. She works on Slumber – a game that is designed to help you sleep better – together with some friends at her university, and she is also in the project group for the student game competition Swedish Game Awards 2017. Before getting into games she studied biology, and she’s very interested in how games can be used to solve problems or helping people see things from new perspectives. She’s a creative person who loves expressing herself through art, music, and of course, games.

Kayla HarrisKayla Harris is a student at George Mason University pursuing her master’s in game design. She was a finalist at the 2016 E3 AARP Game Jam competition for “Neighbors.” “Neighbors” was designed to disrupt aging in people over 60 by reconnecting them with their family and helping them to forge new relationships with people who share similar interests. She enjoys designing games in C++, Unity, and UE4. She speaks English, Korean, and is learning Japanese. Her dream is to become a creative director for a multinational company and to one day run her own indie studio in Korea or Japan.

MalenaKlausMalena Klaus became a game developer to fulfill a lifelong desire to invent things. At the moment she is writing her master thesis in game technology at the IT University Copenhagen in cooperation with usTwo. While doing so she continues inventing worlds, stories, systems and everything else her imagination will allow. She is the creator of TeddyBert and very fond of AI and food.

Joe Marchuk is a freelance videogame composer and sound designer, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. He is currently a student at Berklee College of Music, where he helps to run the Sound Design Network club, and anticipates graduation in the spring of 2018. Most of his work has been in mobile games, though he was most recently involved as assistant sound designer on Earplay’s interactive audio story, The Orpheus Device, as well as their upcoming story, Pugmire. He is also an alumnus of the 2016 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program.

CJPayneCJ Payne is a game designer fascinated by gameplay and narrative. Graduating this April with a Bachelors of Arts in Game Design from DigiPen Institute of Technology, his games focus on depth through simple mechanics, polished controls, and experimental narratives. CJ’s first shipped title was République by Camouflaj, where he managed playtesting for episodes four and five. Whether working in the digital or analog space, his work strives to emphasize role fulfillment, emotional valence, and fluid gameplay. When he’s not designing games, you can find CJ making delicious noms for his friends.

GiacomoPreciadoGiacomo Preciado is a indie game developer from Lima, Peru currently working on Rhythm Doctor, a one-button rhythm game. Since 2012, he has been helping the local scene as a part of IGDA Peru, the local IGDA chapter. At IGDA Peru, they organize talks, events, help the education institutions, and more. Giacomo also collaborates with the Unity Peru User Group to teach better programming techniques and promoting the use of the Unity engine. Finally, with some friends, Giacomo has organized assemblies where fellow game devs can discuss their experiences making video games, share knowledge, and of course, have a good time.

JonahSanvilleJonah Sanville is a Communications student at the University of Southern Maine that’s passionate about creating the experiences of the future using Virtual & Augmented Reality technology. As a Co-Founder and Lead Producer of Timeshock Games, a company he started to help students gain the skills and experience they need to get to their dream jobs, the team has shipped 3 titles and are working on their 4th VR game Chicken Mafia. He also has volunteered 15 times for 12 games industry conferences around the world. A self-starter, world traveler, and ambitious project manager, Jonah seeks to learn as much as he can from GDC and become a leading pioneer in the games industry.

SarahSpiersSarah Spiers is a senior interactive media student at Emerson College. Currently, she is the production assistant at The Deep End Games, where she is helping develop their debut game: Perception. In the past, Sarah has worked on civic media games at the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. She also attended MassDiGI’s Summer Innovation Program as a producer and designer for Takeover Trail. When she is not working, Sarah runs her college’s game development club, where she focuses on creating an inclusive environment for students to learn to make games.

ColleenStieler-HuntDr Colleen Stieler-Hunt recently completed her PhD studies. Her dissertation explores the use of digital games in classrooms and the design process of Orbit, a child safety game. She is a games researcher, educator, designer, and player. Her passion lies in the design of games to consciously make a positive difference in the world. Colleen recently became an associate lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she lectures in their Serious Games undergraduate degree program. Outside of her work and studies she enjoys hanging out with her husband and their two parrots.

JavieraSepulvedaJaviera Sepulveda is a Chilean Game designer. She studied Videogame Design at Instituto Profesional Arcos and currently works for Behaviour Interactive as a QA. She founded the “Desarrolladoras de Videojuegos” group that gathers spanish-speaking women-identified developers in Latin America so they can help and share their experiences as women in the industry. She has volunteered at several events in Chile, something she’s very interested in continuing. As a game designer she seeks to teach through her games, striving to reflect gender equality in her work.

JamesWoodJames Wood is a Scottish programming student at The University of Abertay. He loves creating games and collaborating on projects and most recently worked on Among the Stones with Bluedoor Games. James previously completed a wonderful internship at Supermassive Games near London. He is always looking for opportunities to volunteer, helping out at IGDA events, international games festivals and the local Code Club as a STEM ambassador. James is fascinated by digital art, particularly interactive installations like Line Wobbler. Once he graduates he plans to travel the world as an independent developer collaborating on small, interesting experiences with other passionate creators.

JennyXuJenny Xu is a sophomore at MIT and she’s an athle(te)(a)rtis(t)pro(grammer)ga(me-player)(far)mer. In other words, Jenny is a varsity athlete, artist, animator, game developer, programmer, and also owns 5 chickens! She owns her own independent game development company, JCSoft Inc., and has developed 50+ games so far for web and 7 for mobile. She has accumulated 3.5 million downloads on her mobile games, and one has over 2 million downloads (Google Play store) and was the #7 Simulation game in the US. Jenny enjoys every part of game development, from art to animation to putting it all together with code and music!

EricVignolaEric Vignola is a game developer, thinker, and obsessive. He uses artificial intelligence and interactive experiences to help players explore some of life’s toughest questions. In the past, Eric has helped create tools that allow video game authors to create more expressive worlds that allow for deeper player interaction through artificial intelligence. Presently, he is creating a game about the experience of being biracial in the United States and feelings of social isolation. Eric is planning to create an online media company that uses micro games and blog posts to help people develop greater levels of emotional intelligence through play.