GameFest poster design by Adrianna Oropello

Saturday, April 27: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Albany Capital Center

Free and open to the public!


GameFest is a student game development showcase, symposium and competition, with prizes awarded by a panel of industry experts. This year we are excited to announce a new venue, the recently opened Capital Center in the heart of Albany, New York near Empire State Plaza. Our expanded event features a panel series on innovation in game development and a new indie dev showcase.

GameFest is hosted by the Digital Gaming Hub and Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences Program in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.




Featuring over 40 original games to play by up and coming game designers. Try out breakout indie hits, gameplay innovations and new technologies, from Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to mobile games, competitive multiplayer games, educuational games and experimental artgames.  The Expo features games created by students at schools including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, the NYU Game Center, Drexel University, Champlain College, Quinnipiac University, and University of Connecticut.


Announcing our Inaugural Indie Zone!

Gamefest is excited to announce that in addition to our student showcase we are featuring our first-ever independent game competition, Sponsored by Vicarious Visions. Are you an independent developer who has a recently-launched or upcoming game title you would like to submit into our competition? Complete this form to apply for a chance to showcase at our event and potentially win the grand prize!





Keynote presenter: Emily Short

Narrative Design, In and Out of Games

Description: From Bandersnatch, Russian Doll, Life after Life, S to escape rooms, immersive theatre, location-based audio stories, and theme parks: branching, participatory, and repeatable stories inspired by games are appearing in a wide range of media. Bound to these structures, we see certain recurring themes: topics of mystery and identity, fate and free will, and the constraints imposed by our own character. This talk looks at how the craft and discipline of narrative design prepare us to talk about these essentially human topics, whether we write games or do something else entirely.

Emily Short works in interactive fiction, narrative design, and conversation modeling, and is currently the Chief Product Officer at Spirit AI. She has worked with E-Line Media, Eko, Big Fish Games, Telltale Games, ArenaNet, ngmoco :), and Failbetter Games among others, and was the creative director of the Versu project, building interactive iPad stories around AI characters. She has written over two dozen works of interactive fiction and is part of the design team for Inform 7, a tool for creating parser-based IF. Her blog can be found at

Credits include Galatea, Counterfeit Monkey, Versu, Blood & Laurels, Fallen London, Sunless Seas, Sunless Skies, and Where the Water Tastes Like Wine.

Sam Barlow

Sam Barlow is a British video game designer, best known as the writer and designer of Her Story and the two British Silent Hill games, Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.

Her Story, a “game about a woman talking to the police”, is a critically acclaimed crime fiction game with non-linear storytelling that revolves around a police database full of live action video footage. It stars Viva Seifert, actress and one half of the band Joe Gideon and the Shark. Donato

Research Technician, Ecovative Design

At Ecovative, there is a better way to feed the planet and reduce the amount of plastic used in consumer products. Their mission is to grow better materials that are compatible with Earth. Their Mycelium Foundry, is collaborating with companies to create alternative meat products, biodegradable packaging materials, animal-free leather and more. Hymes

Kathryn Hymes is 50% of the indie studio Thorny Games, where she makes games about language and cryptography. In her designs, Kathryn wants to tell stories in unorthodox, original settings from voices that may have otherwise been unheard. Full of math and computational linguistics, Kathryn is an active voice in the Indie RPG community where she aims to make games more approachable to new enthusiastic faces. She is also a co-host of the Game Design Round Table podcast and a 2016 GenCon Industry Insider. Kathryn has been to Transnistria and hopes to go back some day.

Pat King

Co-founder, Another Castle

Another Castle is a co-working space located in Greenfield, Massachusetts that caters to game developers & designers of the Pioneer Valley.  The space was founded by Pat King of the Pioneer Valley Game Developers and Paul Hake of HitPoint Studios with a goal of fostering and promoting game development in the Pioneer Valley.

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CEO and Co-Founder, Killer Snails

The mission of Killer Snails is to bring science out of the laboratory and into the real world through meaningful play. The Killer Snail team is made up of an active marine biochemist (Holford), an educational psychologist (Portnoy), and a Columbia-trained MBA (Ochoa-Hendrix). The women-owned company partners with educators in twenty six states and has worked with more than 10,000 students to make science learning accessible and engaging.

Killer Snails creates imaginative, engaging products that include a teacher guide aligned to national standards and their digital games offer real-time assessment so teachers can pivot to students’ learning needs as they engage with the games. Killer Snails has leveraged ICorps, Phase I, and Phase II SBIR grants through the National Science Foundation to develop award-winning tabletop, digital,  virtual reality, augmented reality and digital/virtual reality games.


Taro Omiya

Tech Valley Game Space

Tech Valley Game Space (TVGS) is an inclusive nonprofit organization founded on the principle that games and game making are for everyone. Our community and co-working space serves as a welcoming, accessible environment where both aspiring and experienced game developers are encouraged to mentor, educate, and support one another. Our 24/7 co-working studio for game developers at 30 3rd Street in Troy, New York, is an open, inclusive and safe working environment. This location is designed to function as a vibrant and accessible space for independent and hobbyist game developers, as well as anyone with an interest in creating interactive art.

Noah Ratcliff

ROC Game Dev

ROC Game Dev is an organization dedicated to fostering a community of game creators in Rochester, NY. Our mission is to provide a local platform for game creators at beginner, amateur, and professional levels to learn, share, and collaborate in all aspects of building games.


Kathleen Ruiz

Associate Professor of Integrated Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Eco-Resilience Games at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is using the virtual  to transmit and preserve environmental knowledge inspired by the research of  The Jefferson Project. Our trans-disciplinary team consists of students and faculty in GSAS (Critical Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences), Visual Arts & Animation, Music, Computer Science, Engineering, and other areas and are from many diverse backgrounds and geographical areas of the United States, China, the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America.

We all have seen declining conditions in freshwater resources firsthand in our perspective countries. We aim to help enlighten people about the delicate balances of plankton and other important factors so that simple changes in human behavior can help ensure water safety. Our touchscreen, VR and AR games and installations have been exhibited globally in museums, universities, galleries, K-12 schools and alternative venues and are on permanent exhibition at the Echo, Leahy Center at Lake Champlain and at environmental centers worldwide.


Tobi Saulnier

CEO, 1st Playable Productions

1st Playable makes games that empower and encourage. Games that persuade a child that math is cool, teach middle school kids to rethink science misconceptions, or train adults to be aware of cognitive bias affecting their decision making. Even more exciting, games that literally improve the way we think, write, retain memory, and build new habits. Our mission: to harness the power of games to educate, transform, and change minds.



Maurice Suckling

Maurice’s first game was Driver, in 1999. Since then he’s worked on over 40 published video games, including Killing Floor 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Mafia III, Civilization VI, and the Wii Fit series. He’s worked as a producer, a designer, and a voice director, but most often as a writer. Between 2013 and 2015 he was Narrative Director at 2K Australia. Outside of games he works in TV and fiction, co-writing Alphablocks for BBC TV, and publishing a collection of short stories, Photocopies of Heaven. He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, and a Masters in Global History from Birmingham University.

He is currently Professor of Practice at RPI in Upstate NY, where his research interests are storytelling in games, board and card games as storytelling systems, history in games, and history of games.


Albany Capital Center

55 Eagle Street, Albany, NY, 12207

Parking garage information:

GameFest is presented by the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences Program and the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is made possible in part by a grant from the State of New York’s Empire State Development agency.