The Games

The Sammy Showcase exhibit halls will feature over 50 brand new games developed at UCSC this academic year, by undergraduate and graduate student designers, artists, and programmers. Experiences range from traditional computer games to room-scale VR, and from tabletop boardgames to wearable LARP (Live Action Role-Play) augments

Some of these games were created in the setting of official game design programs and courses, others were created as a part of graduate student or lab research, and still others were created by an entirely student-organized game-making studio on campus, the Game Design Art Collaboration (GDA)

The games created for the senior capstone sequences, an introductory game design class, and an intermediate game development class are eligible for awards in distinct categories. Expert judges will play and evaluate these games over the course of the day, and winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at 6pm in the Event Center. See the Awards page for more details. Other games, created outside the context of these courses, are not eligible for Sammy Awards. 

If your game is listed below and you would like to add a team member, add a link, edit its description, correct some spelling, etc, email Melanie Dickinson: mldickin at

Thesis Games from the Games & Playable Media Masters Program

Games created by masters students for their capstone projects in the Games and Playable Media program based out of the Silicon Valley Campus, advised by directors Erin Robinson-Swink and Michael John.

Game Team Members Description Loc. Awards
Major League Magic Ahmet Terzioglu, Adian Kennell, Leo Montegrande, Jim Chu, Lucas Lu, Nick Halsey, Yaowen Zhang Major League Magic is a competitive, online multiplayer, third person, action, arena game where players control Wizards fighting in an arena like gladiators using magic spells and altering the terrain. MLM is played in a best of 3 rounds format, where players try to adapt and counter their opponents' spell selection. Rm 3205
Technical Innovation
Unstable Selection James Morrow, Fernando Briones, Dan Cochran, Katie Liu, Ben Mages Unstable Selection is a whimsical action Roguelite about mutation. Adapt to a hostile and changing environment by absorbing the abilities of the creatures you defeat, and become who you were meant to be! Rm 3212  
Dash Quasar Joey Vergara, James Zolyak, Sam Liao, Skye Sun, Nathan Li

Dash Quasar is a VR game about the imaginary games we all played as children. You are Alex, and you are grounded. In an attempt to combat your crippling boredom you play your favorite imaginary video game, Dash Quasar.

Use everyday household items to interface with the imaginary world. Use a hammer to repair your ship, a magnet to deflect missiles, or a soda can to cast elemental magic. Do whatever it takes to bring down the evil teddy bear, Dr. Hugs.

Rm 3219

Studio Award

Design Innovation

Peace & Order Chelsea Manzano, Akshay Bardia, Iris Qin, Max Gao, Eugene Li Peace and Order is a 15-minute room-scale VR experience about the Philippine Drug War where the player takes on the role of a cop. It explores the moral dilemmas of exercising power highlighting the conflict between duty and orders from above when they have a more cavalier approach to human life and human rights, and the tragic consequences thereof. Rm 3218
Studio Award
Journey Through Memories Niken Hertanto, Inkan Hertanto, Juan Rosales, Eric Guo, Patrick Kagel  Journey Through Memories is a voice-controlled puzzle platformer. Using just the limitless power of your voice, guide a young witch named Vivi as she travels through a magical realm of lingering spirits and a buried past. Set in a hand-painted storybook world, discover and cast various spells to overcome obstacles.  Rm 3216
Audio Award

Studio Award

Technical Innovation
ForzeBreak Miguel Mercado, Robin Zhou, Ring Yang, Jason Lin, Carry Zhang ForzeBreak is an Arena Vehicle Brawler where Rocket League meets Super Smash Brothers in a Mad Max style world. Players engage in a fast paced battle royale to become the ultimate fighting machine. Rm 2004  

Senior Capstone Games from Undergraduate Game Design Majors (170 Games)

Games created by the graduating class of the Computer Science: Game Design major in a three-quarter design sequence, CMPM 170, 171, and 172, taught by Nathan Altice, Jim Whitehead, and Adam Smith, respectively.

These teams will also be giving brief presentations about the design, execution, and inspiration of their games in the Game Presentation track.

Game Team Members Description Loc. Awards
everybody's sad Aubrey Isaacman, Evie Chang, Maxwell Taylor, Gangjun Ha, Raymond Reedy, Liam Dugard, Caleb Valdez, Jared Pettitt, Nathaniel Kevin Suriawijaya, Andrew Gwinner, Giovanni Benedetti, Noriaki Nakano everybody’s sad is a therapeutic and kinetic VR experience for the HTC Vive in which the player must use intuitive motion and pose-based controls to make sad, alive objects happy. Many of these tasks that make these toxic objects happy will be potentially uncomfortable for the player, but who will make the player happy? Upstairs Lobby
Peer Choice Award

Design Innovation
Loot Box Simulator Andrew Gwinner, Nicholas Ho, Evie Chang, Nichole Wilkinson, Kevin Wu A satirical look at the current trajectory of the game industry. Open loot boxes, collect loot, equip cosmetics, face off against the evil RN Gatchavarious, watch ads, take surveys, and slowly succumb to addiction. Event Center
Peer Choice Award
Orbital Spencer Butterfield Orbital is an upcoming adventure puzzle mobile game. Explore the galaxy as you navigate beautiful geometric patterns. Try to not die along the way! Event Center  
Shroommates Advait Ahir, Charisse Lo, Courtney Chavez, Eisaku Imura, Jacob Darby, Jake Shapiro, Jeffrey Hui, Jennifer Bermeo, Nicholas Ho, Richard Harker, Ryan Shee, Sean Woods, Ian Carlton, Jessica Wong, Joann Long Shroommates is a third-person platformer where players play as a sentient mushroom trying to return to his family. Jump, glide, run, and collect items around the house while completing various objectives from room to room! Will you be able to find the deed to the house and kick out the humans? Event Center  
beat BOX Ryan Jaime, Jolina Lam, Jonathan Alcantara beat BOX is a Virtual Reality rhythm game for the Oculus Touch. Punch the amplifier to the rhythm and rotate it in order to catch notes coming from different directions. Rm 3214  
Lumin AJ Brown, Harpreet Mahli, Jasper Yeh, Jerry Liu, Joshua Shier, Pragun Sharma, Kiefer Nemeth, Kai Rhodes, Armin Anderson Lumin is a game about exploration and fascination. You play as Lumin and your job is to keep the stars in the sky. Stars from a nearby constellation have fallen to a distant planet. As you travel to collect them thousands of years have passed, and a civilization took the stars and used their power to build their society. Explore their world and collect the stars from where these people have hid them and send them back into the sky where they belong. Event Center
Grand Prize

Peer Choice Award
Writer's Block Long Nguyen, Kevin Flores, Crystal Martinez, Matt Loyola In Writer's Block, you play as an unsuccessful horror writer attempting to finish his latest work in 7 days for an upcoming book festival. In the process, he must confront his memories, anxieties, and unresolved conflicts with the people in his past. His mental state manifests as nightmares and monsters, and it is up to the player whether he'll survive or be consumed by his inner demons. Event Center
Visual Art

Grand Prize

Audio Award
Rite of Conquest Ajay Balaram, Stanton Schulte, Brian Lambrigger Rite of conquest is a simple one versus one real time strategy game. Players control units, gather resources, and try and destroy their opponent's main building to win the game. Before entering the fray, players pick ther faction from amongst a selection of different possible units in a drafting phase versus their opponent to put together the best force that they can, and then bring those units with them into the match.  Event Center  
Veins of Light Alex Lang Play as one of the last Adama, an ancient race of superhumans brought near extinction by invaders from another world. Delve deep into the caverns of Mother Earth, and search for the fabled hidden weapon that will set your people free... Event Center  
Trapped Brandon Samudio, Jay Parikh, Jose Zepeda, Manuel Rosales Trapped is an exploration game set in an abandoned mansion with the sole goal of finding your lost little brother. You will venture through the mansion and get through obstacles to find your little brother. Event Center  
Bookend Edmond Le, Nicole Maines, Jared Ono, Clive Lithgow, Linda Nguyen, Kevin Saenz, Jay Patel, Mallory Strout, Enrique Molina, Jonathan Alcantara, Justin Tran, Kenneth Jiang Bookend is a VR title in which the player reads through their favorite pop-up book while waiting for the world to end. They'll interact with the book's world and help the protagonist, the little witch Abigail, as she's pursued by an angry mob trying to stop her mission that could either mean saving the world--or ending it. Event Center
Peer Choice Award

Visual Art
Juanito el Nahualito Hesiquio Mendez Alejo, Jacob Weidner, Ozvaldo Membrila, Chris Huynh, James Garbagnati, Jude Loren, Jonathan Morales, Alexandra Winters, Jana Eisner, Juan Castillo Meija, Alejandro Morales Maldonado, Reshma Zachariah, Andrea Guyette, Collette Quach, Gian Paredes, Herman Wu, Nagie Khant, Ian Rapoport, Kyle Oppenheim, Spencer Hight, Mason Reed Juanito El Nahualito is a short exploration and puzzle based narrative experience focused on the coming of age of a modern Latin American teen with a special power to influence wildlife inherited from his cultural ancestors, the Nahaules. The game uses 2D cutscenes and voiceover interspersed with 3D gameplay to provide historical information about the culture and its legends. It has an accompanying physical storybook that acts as a prequel to the game and will be present at the demo. Event Center
Audio Award
Synesthesia Artem Litvak, Jacob Darby Synesthesia is a music-based rhythm game where you use a custom, motion-sensing controller to destroy asteroids by matching their distinct colors with your hands. The destruction of asteroids produces the music of the game, which creates a distinct and immersive experience for the player. Event Center  
Zefeir Jesse Fischbeck, Shayne Hayes, Ian Seebach, Sebastian Shelley, Autumn Washington-English, Madeleine Glenn, Kiefer Nemeth, Freeman Take to the skies in a lighthearted 3D platformer starring Zefeir the Griffin. Use momentum-based gliding to explore your surroundings and overcome obstacles in novel ways. Event Center  
Jumpland Joseph T Sandmeyer Jumpland is a lo-fi jumping simulator. Since 2018, players jump around the dreamy landscape with glee. Event Center  
StumpJumper Johannes Spaulding, Jared Pettitt, Andrew Gwinner, Long Nguyen, Courtney Chavez StumpJumper is an Excitebike inspired 2D autorunner for Web and mobile. Race against other riders on mountain trails. Do tricks to get RAD, the more RAD you are, the faster you go! Event Center  
Wizpirball Michael Harrold, Benjamin Halsted, Evan Thomson, Frank Leyva Wizpirball (short for wizard-pirate-baseball) is a game in which players must compete on the open seas by testing their wizard-baseball might in a world without conventional weapons. Players engage in ship-on-ship combat by hitting baseballs at each other. Since these pirates are also wizards, they can imbue these baseballs with different magical properties that make them even more devastating than simple cannonballs. Event Center  
Inkless Andy Wang, Son Huynh, Jesse Fischbeck, Mei Guo, Makayla James Restore color to a once beautiful world. Be the artist of a living painting. Event Center
Visual Art
Social Manipulation System Spencer Witkin, Bryce Newbury, Wilbur Li, Dmytro Allakhverdiyev, Frank Friesen, Michael Domalewski, Charisse Lo, Janice Lee Play as the digital ghost of a tech support agent who is trapped inside a smartphone. Use apps on the phone to discover the relationships and interests of characters in the world, then use this information to your advantage by sending fake messages, editing emails, and hacking apps to accomplish your own goals. Event Center  
NeMO-Net Simon Benichou, Jarrett van den Bergh, Yuvika Dube, Fernando Zamora, Allyssa De La Torre, Gian Paredes, Joey Schutz NeMO-Net is a relaxing coral classification game in which you paint on coral. Event Center
Technical Innovation
Flicker Sabrina Mohler, Sara Hastings, Calvin Walantus, Thai Hogarth, Chris Zhang, Kris Paz, Sophia Ly, Luke Jiang, Jude Loren, Jimi Bove  Flicker is an upcoming surrealist puzzle-platformer that seeks to capture the experience of navigating young adulthood while dealing with social anxiety. While you explore this strange landscape as the unlikely protagonist Caedl, shift dimensions to alter your perception, and the physical form, of the world around you. Event Center  
Kleptonaut Nick Warren, Richard Mao, James Thomason, Luke Lai, Wesley Wu, Christina Hanson, Jeff Shields Kleptonaut is a game about robbing stores in zero-gravity. Pick up and throw items to propel yourself, solve puzzles, and wreak havoc in Nova-Mart's numerous establishments. Event Center
Grand Prize
Solus Hamilton Connor, Alex Mao, Nichole Lasater, Yui Sia, Shawn Edmond, Paul Odion, Kimberly Oba, Joel Reynada, Jacob Le, Duncan Bauer, Ed Martin Cruz  A first-person exploration game, in which the player is thrown into the vastness of space with a single directive: find a home for humanity. Discover beautiful, tiny worlds and follow the path of life through the stars. When communication falters and you realize how very alone you are, can you hold on to hope? Can you save the world? Event Center  



GDA Games

Games created by the entirely student-run game studio at UCSC, the Game Design Art Collaboration (GDA)

These teams will also be giving brief presentations about the design, execution, and inspiration of their games in the Game Presentation track.

Game Team Members Description Loc. Awards
Superball: A Dodgeball RPG  Charles Miller, Zhao Li, Wyatt Ramsey, Gabriel Lee, Rexford Jew, Joel Reynada, Jeffrey Yao, Summer Gadsby, Carl Erez, Tristian Morales, James Dupen, Dennis (Vin) T. Nguyen, Darius Rudominer, Ian Seebach, Theo Erickson, Benjamin Roisen, Jeven Zarate-McCoy, Muhammad Al-Suwaidi, Wilson CK Lau, Eric Mitchell, Jessica Wong, Nicholas Ho, Samuel Barish, Fernando Zamora, Ian Miller, Brandon Lang Superball is a dodgeball-inspired turn-based strategy game that follows the story of an exchange student named Shiro Smith. Guide her on a journey to find her long lost brother and incidentally become one of the best dodgeball players in Ball City! Event Center  
Typocrypha Hughe Vang, Ben Schwartz, James T. Iwamasa, Paige Riola, Nox Ngo, Lyn Kline, Caleb Valdez, Allyson Campos, Valentino Abate, Herman Wu, Gigi Bachtel, Alex Bradtke, Ethan Chong, Emily Hoang, Fernando Zamora, Justin Law, Tina Peng, Madeleine Glenn, Charisse Lo, David Nguyen, Bernard Balagot

TYPOCRYPHA is an experimental narrative-based Typing RPG. Play as a member of the EVE-IRIS Counter-Demon Force and overcome the forces of the mysterious EVIL EYE. Cast spells and take on waves of enemies by typing incantations into your trusty Typocrypha keyboard! DESTROY THE EVIL EYE.

Event Center
Design Innovation


Foundation Course Games (80K Games)

Games created by teams of 1-2 students in the Winter 2018 offering of UCSC's introductory game design class, CMPM 80K: Foundations of Game Design, taught by Noah Wardrip-Fruin.

Game Team Members Loc.
Get That Girl! Holly Cheng Event Center
ADV Gigi Bachtel Event Center
Rumination Trials Angeleen Tan Event Center
Caged Noah Lema, Spencer Nakagawa Event Center
The Long Road Nicholas Gleason Event Center

Intermediate Game Development Games (120 Games)

Games made by small teams in the Spring 2018 offering of UCSC's intermediate game design class, CMPM/ARTG 120, taught by Nathan Altice and Robin Hunicke.

Game Team Members Loc.
Null Metal Detective Valentino Abate, David Nguyen, Tina Peng Rm 3004
Gravobot Gigi Bachtel, Hana Cho, Ruth Schoenberg Rm 3004
rLDQ (Real Life Done Quick) Jacob Burnworth, Jihong Min, Yash Solanski Rm 3004
The Light Sandra Latt, Jacob Thompson, Thomas Ruiz Rm 3004
Breaking News Alexandria McGill, Michael Lagapa, Kevin Ly Rm 3004


The following sections contain games created in different classes or for research, are not eligible for Sammy Awards. 

Research Games & Demos

Games and other interactive demos created by PhD, MS, and MFA students as a part of their research or practice. 

Name Team Members Description Loc.
Icarus Also Flew Jordan Magnuson A short game exploring an unusual aspect of the Icarus myth that relies on on age-old poetic devices like imagery, pacing, rhythm, and rhyme for much of its meaning.  Upstairs Lobby
It's Alive! Oleksandra Keehl, Christopher Huynh, Erika Dunn, Toby Kwan, Janelynn Camingue You are the Mad Scientist! Bring your creations to life in this refreshing spin on the grid-based game genre. Assemble monsters from falling parts. Make them big, make them colorful, take on challenge modes, beat the competition!  Upstairs Lobby
Emma's Journey Jacob Garbe, Adam Summerville, Melanie Dickinson, Joe Osborn, Max Kreminski, Noah Wardrip-Fruin, Michael Mateas Emma's Journey combines both a procedural choice-based narrative and abstract game generation system to tell the unique story of a woman's life as she forges her career amidst the escalating consequences of global warming. Upstairs Lobby
Responsible Conduct of Research Game James Ryan, Nick Junius, Dietrich "Squinky" Squinkifer, Silvia Ordonez, Thovatey Tep, Janel Catajoy, Aislynn Cetera, Lisa Durand, Yani Mohamad Fauzi, Adesh Kumar, Trevor Holoch, Merita Lundstrom, Jacinda Ni, David Nguyen, Jinah Noh, Jared Ono, Tiffany Phan, Emily Rodriguez, Thomas Ruiz, Reshma Zachariah A collection of playable stories about responsible conduct of research. Commissioned by the UC Santa Cruz Division of Graduate Studies. Upstairs Lobby
Starfreighter Max Kreminski

In Starfreighter, you play as the captain of a small starship (the titular starfreighter) and take on a variety of odd jobs in order to eke out an existence in a procedurally generated universe. Watch over the gradually evolving relationships between the members of your crew, travel from system to system in search of work, and get caught up in ongoing stories across the galaxy as you try to find a way to make ends meet.

Starfreighter makes use of an innovative procedural narrative system based on "storylets", or structured units of narrative content that are gated by certain game state conditions, to adapt its narrative dynamically in response to player choices. The decisions you make in the game have a real impact on the story, and ultimately, your own fate – not to mention that of your crew – lies in your hands.

Upstairs Lobby

Wearable Technology For LARP Ella Dagan, Miguel Flores, Ferran Altarriba, Elena Márquez Segura, Katherine Isbister We created a wearable design in collaboration with the Larp production company Event Horizon for their sci-fi game New Gyr. In designing we want to tap into the potential of wearables design and how it might change/enhance collocated social interactions. This game had ~90 players and was played during a four day weekend in April. 13 of the players wore the devices in the game as they were playing cyborg characters named Augments.  Rm 3002
Traceless Jesse Harder, Avital Meshi A person in our town went missing. Who is this person? Why is this person gone? Who is to blame? Traceless is an AR based LARP. Players expose their roles and find out more details by scanning cards with an AR app. The story unfolds differently each time the game is played. Upstairs Lobby
Social VR Samvid Jhaveri, Erica Nguyen, Joshua Mcveigh-Schultz Social VR is a fast expanding sector but it's still new, so given this timely opportunity we want to figure out HOW we want to be social in VR. In this VR social chat application, we are looking at particular values like supporting pro-social interaction on the open web, and towards that we have been creating environmental spectacles and social superpowers to enhance interaction between the users. Rm 3233

Other Course Games 

Exceptional games nominated by the instructors of other games courses at UCSC: ARTG 80G and ARTG 129.

Game Team Members Loc.
Imber (formerly named Kanata) Jihong Min Event Center
Queering Spacetime Joyce Lin Event Center
Get Out of Bed! Courtney Hunt Event Center
Meet Me in the Garden Liam Dugard, Yani Fauzi, Reno Rivera, Emily Rodriguez, Caleb Valdez Rm 3004
The Parade Tima Peshin, Reshma Zachariah Rm 3004
Just Be Happier Roy Cramer Rm 3004


Games from Prior Years