Game Center co-founder wins two awards at IndieCade International Festival

At the IndieCade International Festival of Independent Games, which took place Oct. 4 to 7, NYU visiting assistant arts professor Eric Zimmerman received two awards for his projects. Zimmerman won the Game Design Award for “Armada d6,” a board game prototype he created with fellow game designer John Sharp. The first board game to win the award, “Armada d6” is a strategy game centered around the conquest of space.

Zimmerman also received the Interaction Award for “Interference,” a game he developed with architect Nathalie Pozzi. “Interference” is a physical game in which a pair of players, enclosed in suspended steel walls, attempts to group their own colored pieces in cells of their colony while stealing pieces from their opponent.

Frank Lantz, the director of NYU’s Game Center, described the IndieCade International Festival as “the pre-eminent venue for a new generation of game creators who are interested in exploring the creative possibilities of games beyond the context of commercial pop culture.”

“[The festival] reflects a shift that is happening, a shift away from games as a quirky, niche, technology-focused subculture, [toward] games as a smart, social, relevant creative scene,” Lantz said.

Zimmerman helped establish NYU’s Game Center in 2008 as a school to prepare students for this changing environment. The Game Center, which is located at the Skirball Center for New Media, hopes to mold the next generation of game designers and entrepreneurs by encouraging them to discover their personal creative voice. The center works closely with other NYU schools, such as the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, Human Development and Institute of Technology at NYU.

Lantz said the Game Center is interested in supporting innovative game design and in creating a context for students to hone their craft.

Lantz also praised Eric Zimmerman and his work.

“Eric’s not just a great teacher and important scholar, he’s also a practicing game designer who is doing important, ground-breaking work,” he said.

Teaching at NYU has become part of Zimmerman’s design practice.

“It helps me ‘sharpen my sword’ and keep my design muscles in shape for taking on projects like ‘Armada d6’ and ‘Interference,’” Zimmerman said. “I really love my job [at the Game Center] … It is exactly the kind of program I have been dreaming about for more than a decade.”

According to Lantz, Zimmerman’s recognition at the IndieCade International Festival is a reflection of the high caliber of the game center’s full-time faculty.

“Eric’s not just a great teacher and important scholar, he’s also a practicing game designer who is doing important, groundbreaking work,” Lantz said.

A version of this article appeared in Tuesday, Nov. 12 print edition. Lesley Greenberg is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]

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