Games of Distinction

During the Winter quarter at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the 213 students in the course, Foundations of Interactive Game Design (CS 80K), created over 115 computer games. The following eight games were selected as exhibiting multiple excellent qualities in game design. These games were demonstrated to a panel of four exteral judges, all professionals working in the game design industry. The top four games below were selected as the best games in the class by those judges.


Matvei Stefarov, Geon Lee

Malloc(); is a puzzle game set in the world of computer hardware. In the primary storyline, the player competes against the increasingly difficult AI on six boards. At the beginning of a new game, only two boards are open to the player, but more can be unlocked by winning the open levels. The game also supports networked multiplayer play up to four people.


Village of Shadow

Jimmy Fishel, Hunter Francis

Take control over the rookie ninja, Hayakushi, in this fast-paced, top-down, action-adventure game. The game consists of many areas with enemies blocking the path to the next area. You must use the skills at your disposal to get through your foes and advance to the next area.


Bird Jumper

Greg Chesavage

Bird Jumper is a platformer with a twist. The main character, the ostrich king, can jump high and run up walls. The player must use these abilities to avoid danger and save the villagers from inside a giant beast. Superb level design, accompanied by a catchy original musical score give this game a distinctive mood.



Collin Sanders, Paul Alani

Wastepaper is a clever vertical shooter with a unique artistic style. The game looks as though it is being doodled on the pages of a notebook. The player gains points by attacking oncoming enemy ships and can then use these points to launch super weapons, such as missles and shields.


Zinn's Psychotic Adventure

Jeffrey Lyon, Alexander Ray

Zinn's Psychotic Adventure is a whimsical platformer set inside the head of the main character. The player is challenged to find out exactly what is going on with in this world before it is too late. The player collects fruit and finds flowers to grant the main character different abilities, such as high jumping and wall climbing.



David Chattin-McNichols

Antivirus takes place inside the memory of a future computer under siege by a virus. The owner of the computer starts an antivirus program, controlled by the player. The antivirus program has three modes, with each mode being useful at different points. Levels are generated procedurally, so no two games are the same.


The Industry

Sam Zublin-Meyer

The Industry is a comical platformer that pokes fun at the game industry. The main character navigates through various classic video that have been "platformerized": in Pong the player hops from paddle to paddle, while in Tetris the player jumps from tetris piece to tetris piece. A 2d space shooter level has the character perched atop a spaceship, jumping to avoid obstacles, before transitioning to a level featuring a jumping contest with Mario.


Isle of Bandits

Christian Boe, Roby Behrens

Isle of Bandits is an RPG that takes place in ancient Japan. The game starts out on a beach where the main character, Renji, has just awakened from being knocked out. On the beach are his companions a pirate named Kai and a samurai named Yasuhiro. The player's main goal in the game is to defeat the emperor; however, there are also many short term goals that the player must accomplish before he can beat the game.

Note: you must also download and install RPG Maker to play this game.