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"Games By Teens” competition rewards creativity, computer savvy, by local high school students

The Muskingum College “Games By Teens” competition held its awards ceremony May 30 on the campus, granting prizes and scholarships to local students who created the most imaginative and challenging computer games.

The competition was sponsored by the college and Resource Systems of New Concord. During the awards ceremony, contest creator Muskingum College Instructor of Computer Science Jay Shaffstall, also thanked his colleague, Professor of Chemistry Dr. Raymond Rataiczak, who provided extensive support from the Muskingum’s science division to make the contest possible.

GAMES BY TEENS WINNERSFirst place was awarded to the team of Aj Hallmon of Zanesville High School and Collin Thomas of John Glenn High School, who created RoboNinja. The prize, an eight-gigabyte iPod Touch, was provided by Resource Systems of New Concord. The two also shared a $500 Muskingum College scholarship, provided by the Admission Office.

Second place was awarded to Emily Vanasdale, who is home schooled, who is the creator of Running To Freedom. She received a copy of Dark Basic Studio, a game creation software package, and a reference book on how to use it.

Third place went to Lance Hecker of West Muskingum High School, who created UFO Game. The prize, an Eclipse III backlit multimedia keyboard, was provided by Hacker’s Hideout of Zanesville.

Honorable mention winners received a variety of prizes, provided by Sunrise Bowling of Zanesville and the Muskingum College bookstore. The honorable mention winners were:

Great New Version Of A Classic Game was awarded to Nathan Stout of West Muskingum High School, who created an updated version of Pong.

Terrific Fantasy Back Story was awarded to Justin Hunt of East Muskingum High School, who created Grado.

Great New Version Of A Flying Shooter was granted to Fernando X. Avila-Soto of John Glenn High School, who created Warzone.

Best Use Of A Simple Concept was awarded to Steven Hixson of John Glenn High School, who created Pform.

Most Ambitious Design was granted to Ferdinand G. Avila-Soto of John Glenn High School, who created Platform Madness.

A total of 14 students from area schools accepted the challenge to create, design and program the computer games of their choosing, even if they had no programming or computer science experience. They were helped along in the process during a series of workshops held at West Muskingum Middle School in April and May.

The students’ games were then played and judged by a panel made up of Shaffstall; Jason Witherell, a member of the Gaming and Simulation faculty at Shawnee State University; Cory Williams, Skunkworks architect at Resource Systems; and Dave Burkhart, multimedia teacher at West Muskingum Middle School.

In the photo: From left to right, Emily Vanasdale, Collin Thomas, Aj Hallmon and Lance Hecker.