Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Utah Game Wars 2015

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 18, 2015

GameWars10The awards for Utah Game Wars 2015 was Wednesday night. This is an annual event that I haven’t attended or participated in before now.

Half of the event was private for the judges and the finalists, and then they let the rest of us in for food, games, and the award ceremony. The game devs got to do their pitch to the judges. The judging was partly about the games (although that was more for the audience choice award), but was more about the companies involved: Who needed the investment, who was really innovating, who was poised to grow. The winner and two runners-up of the eight finalists would be given a cash prize, and a lot of services from local companies representing legal, business, and health care services.

The eight finalists were:

HealthX, a game controlled by eye movement for diagnosis and treatment of Lazy Eye

Crashnauts, a multiplayer 2D “arena” game

Super Dragon Heroes – a multiplayer battle arena game on mobile

GameWars2Rogue Invader – A procedurally generated side-scrolling game with a really cool old-school black & white / dithered look. Seeing 3D graphics in action rendered as if they were black-and-white pixel art is something else.

Mechanical Mansion – really a show-piece for a really cool platformer-base Unity toolkit. The toolkit makes things easy enough that this game was able to be created within about 2 weeks.

Together: Amna & Saif – a 2-player cooperative puzzle game that requires two players playing cooperatively in order to complete the levels.

Momentum – an awesome 3D marble maze game

Reign of Darkness – a 3D free-to-play MMORPG


It was pretty exciting seeing what small gaming companies are doing here in Utah. The competition was for small companies – independent, but not what we’d necessarily consider “indie” – to compete with more of an entrepreneurial emphasis. As explained prior to the audience voting and the awards, what they are looking for is companies poised to grow – to build the local economy.

GameWars7Super Dragon Heroes ended up the winner for the evening, with Together: Amna and Saif and HealthX as runners-up. All three games will be sharing booth space at Salt Lake Comic Con in a week. (And there I was, a year ago, next-door neighbors with Together: Amna and Saif at Comic Con last year! 😉 )

One thing that was interesting to me was that I was only previously familiar with about half of the games being presented. The others I didn’t know existed. We keep discovering just how many local game developers there are – in many cases laboring in their basements or college labs – that are not really connected and don’t know what resources are available. We’re trying to improve this, but it’s still tough getting the word out to everyone.

Anyway, it was very cool to see the local business community supporting game developers like this. I’m not exactly sure how many years this has been going on, but it’s been at least three. I think they mentioned six years. Anyway, go Utah! Hopefully I’ll be able to attend again next year. Many congrats to the finalists, the runners up, and React Games for winning the grand prize!

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