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Becker College team wins MassDiGI video-game contest

A team of five Becker College students won the grand prize in the MassDiGI Game Challenge.

Their winning entry is titled “Nano Swarm,” a game cited for its vivid graphics and the potential to be played on touch-screen devices such as the iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc.

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In the game, nano bots find themselves imprisoned under the watchful eye of guards wielding machine guns and flame throwers. Game players are tasked with devising a successful bot jail-break.

According to MassDiGI, 28 teams competed over the weekend for the game challenge’s top prize. The competition took place at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge. Entries came from more than 20 schools and colleges, MassDiGI said.

Members of the winning team are invited to participate in a summer innovation program run by MassDiGI, which is also known as the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute. The state-backed institute, which is based at Becker College, aims to spur the growth of the Bay State’s video gaming industry while promoting collaboration between the industry and local academic institutions. Becker College, which has a campus in Worcester, offers courses on video gaming.

Participants in the MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program receive mentoring from game industry experts as well as legal and business advice on how to launch a company.

The program will allow the winners to “take a cool demo and turn it into an actual game,” said Monty Sharma, MassDiGI’s managing director.

According to the institute, the MassDiGI Game Challenge grand prize has a value of $20,000.

The Nano Swarm team, known as 80HD Games, is made up of Chris Gengler of Northampton; Emil Ritter of Sharon; Jonathan and Andrew Niemi of Fitzwilliam, N.H.; and Ali Swei of Chestnut Hill.

Slots in MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program are still available. The application deadline is April 23. Students can learn more about the application process at www.MassDiGI.org.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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