The NYU Game Center’s signature event is Playtest Thursday, a weekly playtesting event where our students and local professionals work on games together. In a casual atmosphere, designers show any work in progress game, play each other’s games, give feedback, and work to make everyone’s games better. This event regularly draws about 50 people per week, including a mix of our students, faculty, and staff, indie designers from NYC, local studios, and future game designers from local high schools. Visit the Playtest Thursday site here.
Student Showcases & Curated Exhibitions
Each year the NYU Game Center’s graduating class produces an end of year that showcases the MFA Thesis work, BFA Capstone work, and high exceptional projects from all of our graduate and undergraduate classes throughout the year. The show regularly features about 100 digital and non-digital games that showcases the diverse work produced at the NYU Game Center, to hundreds of attendees. The 2017 Student Showcase brought upwards of 1000 guests to the Game Center, including representatives from Sony, Microsoft, IndieFund, Kickstarter, EA, and more than a dozen other companies. Click on the year to see photos from our 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 showcases.
The No Quarter Exhibition of Games is a yearly event where we commission innovative work from four high-profile independent game designers. The games are debuted to the public for the first time at each year’s exhibition, which has grown from a small opening reception to a huge, must-attend event for hundreds of people coming from all over the country. Games like Nidhogg, Killer Queen, and Sportsfriends began at No Quarter, and we’ve commissioned work from artists like Terry Cavanagh, Zach Gage, and Auriea Harvey, among many others. See photos from the 2015 No Quarter here.
Every September we celebrate the completion of the NYU Game Center Incubator with a large public showcase. Hundreds of people join us to hear presentations from the Incubator developers and play the games from that year’s cohort. Watch a video of the 2017 Incubator Showcase here.
Once each quarter, the NYU Game Center showcases promising student work at BQEs & Betas, an event put on in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery. The Game Center selects current student work to exhibit for the evening in the Brewery’s tasting room for an audience of upwards of 200 people from all over the world.
Since 2008, we’ve hosted one of the largest sites in the world for the global game jam, including the largest in North America. Each year between 200-300 jammers from all over the northeast convene at the NYU Game Center to make games alongside our students, faculty, and staff. Games made at our site have gone on to major festivals and release, including indie hits Mushroom 11 and How do you Do It?. Watch a video of the Global Game Jam at NYU here.
We also host a number of smaller annual and one-off jams, usually based around much more specialized themes, topical issues, and charitable causes. Some past highlights include the Molyjam, a jam based on the work of Peter Molyneux, and the Indie Speed Run, a world wide indie game making contest.
PRACTICE: Game Design in Detail, our annual conference for professional game designers, features industry leaders and innovators like Jonathan Blow, Richard Garfield, and Mare Sheppard. Practice is annually attended by about two hundred professional game designers to the NYU Game Center for a weekend of talks and conversation. The conference is designed to bring together designers of every discipline, and has included talks from AAA designers, indie developers, board game designers, rock climbing route setters, War game designers, NCAA football rule makers, and more. Visit the PRACTICE site here.
This past year we co-hosted the first play/ground, a weekend long public workshop that explored the use of play for political resistance and power. play/ground took a different approach to conferences, and instead of talks and panels offered it’s 100 attendees with a series of engaging games, workshops, and exercises. A diverse line-up of speakers from all different aspects of games, art, and digital media worked with attendees to examine how games can create social change. We have also been home to the Different Games Conference, which addresses diversity and inclusivity in games, striving to amplify the creative and critical voices of marginalized participants in games culture. Different Games combines an arcade along with a multitrack weekend of talks and workshops for a couple hundred attendees who range from designers new to games to veteran industry professionals. Visit the Different Games site here.
We feel competitive games are under-theorized aspect of games, so we host a range of events that highlight the artistry of competitive games. For example, at our annual Spring Fighter Tournament, we gather some of the best fighting game players in the world for a day-long celebration fighting games. This year we hosted ‘Long Island’ Joe Ciaramelli and Seth Killian in conversation about their role in the sport. Experience the talk here.
Tournaments are also an active part of our library offerings. The Open Library’s Tournament Organizer runs tournaments on a bi-weekly basis in partnerships with NYU’s Super Smash Bros community, Fighting Games club, and for indie games like Rocket League and Towerfall, as well as multiplayer student games, like Sumer and Badblood. You can watch many of our tournaments live on our twitch.tv channel.