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Article by Niagara This Week about Awaken winning 'Best Game' at the Level Up Showcase at the Design Exchange in Toronto, ON.

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A woman wakes up in an unfamiliar house with no memory of who she is and the only way to remember is to seek out clues in her environment to solve the mystery.

This is the concept behind the winner of Best Game at the 2013 Level Up Showcase created by students of Brock Universities Interactive Arts and Science program. The PC-based game, called Awaken, was competing against 50 others from 11 different colleges and universities around Ontario. This was the first year the Brock program has entered the competition.

“We didn’t expect to win,” said Jean Bridge, associate professor for the Visual Arts and Interactive Arts and Science program, adding that the other competitors entered multiple games into the competition whereas Brock only entered one.

Team leader Kev Greene said he was still in shock days after they won.

“It’s been a huge collaboration, we all brought something different to the table,” said Greene referring to the 12-member team that worked to put the game together. He said they explored concepts from films, graphic novels and other games to eventually vote on what the final product would look like.

The fourth-year students began exploring the concept for the game last September and began production in October with each team member bringing a specific skill to the creation of Awaken.

The team went to three different high schools in the region for beta testing and Greene said the feedback they received was really helpful and the team was able to implement several valuable suggestions on how to enhance the game.

“This game was head and shoulders above what everybody else was doing,” said Bridge, adding that it gives the ability for the player to craft their own experience.

Bridge said making the game turned out to be a learning experience for her as well as her students.

“People come into the program having played video games all their lives,” said Bridge, adding, “they know things that the professors don’t.”

Unlike the other schools that took part, the Brock students do not get graded on their performance at the competition. Bridge said she would like this to change and have it built in to their curriculum.

The game’s official launch, which is open to the public, takes place on Wednesday, April 17 from 5-7 p.m. at nGen, 1 St. Paul St., St. Catharines and the game will be available for free download at www.awakengame.ca.

Article courtesy of Niagara This Week: Niagarathisweek.com

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