This event started as just the "Sammy Awards" in 2011. From 2011 to 2015, students from the 170 undergraduate game design capstone sequence would get up on stage in front of hundreds of friends and family to describe their game and the intensive process of making it. Then the titular Sammy Awards would be granted in nomination categories, similar to the Oscars format. We quickly outgrew the Engineering Auditorium, and moved to the historical Rio Theatre in 2012. 

In 2016, the showcase was added, giving audiences the chance to join judges in actually playing the games being celebrated. It also better connected our satellite campus, the home of the newly founded Games and Playable Media Masters program, which housed the new exhibit. This style of event was so successful that the showcase became the main attraction, and the awards ceremony was merged into the showcase in 2018. This was also the year we added a mini-conference of research presentations from UCSC's many acclaimed games researchers. 

In 2019, the Sammy Showcase was renamed to the UCSC Games Showcase, and was brought back to the main UCSC campus. 

It will surely evolve more in future years, but past year's games and award winners are still very much worth celebrating: