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[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Gamasutra and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource GamesPress.]


March 9, 2014 (Cambridge, Mass.) – The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute is pleased to announce that Little Worlds Interactive, a Boston-based independent educational game development studio, has won the overall Grand Prize as well as Serious Game Prototype category honors in the third annual MassDiGI Game Challenge for The Counting Kingdom. The Counting Kingdom is a game for kids aged seven and up that encourages players to practice their math skills in a playful and engaging way.

“We are so excited to be heading home with the Grand Prize and category honors,” said Jenna Hoffstein, founder of Little Worlds Interactive. “MassDiGI did an amazing job organizing the event and bringing so many great developers, mentors and speakers together. The feedback and experience I received during the Game Challenge was extremely valuable, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is making a game and wants it to succeed.”

This is the first time a serious or educational game has won the MassDiGI Game Challenge Grand Prize.

The MassDiGI Game Challenge helps indie, start-up and student game development entrepreneurs hone their ideas and products for launch. This year 45 teams consisting of indie game developers and students from around the northeast competed in front of a full-house on March 7 and 8 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center. The event is a key showcase for the growing game industry cluster in the region. A cadre of video game industry veterans served as judges for the competition. 

As the Grand Prize and Serious Game Prototype winner, Little Worlds Interactive receives $2,250, a legal services package from Greenberg Traurig, customized mentoring and public relations/marketing packages, a slot at MassDiGI’s PAX East demo table, a Wacom tablet from Great Eastern Technology, a Creative Cloud license from Adobe, games from Ubisoft and Dejobaan.

Other top Boston-area winners include Chris Chung for Catlateral Damage which won the People’s Choice award and Indie Entertainment Game Prototype category honors. Catlateral Damage a fun, first-person cat simulator where the goal is to knock as many of your owner's possessions onto the ground as possible.

Winning the inaugural High School category was a team of enthusiastic students from Millbury Memorial High School with Wasteland Trials. Runner-up in that category was a team from Newton South High School with Wonderful Nightmares.

“Year over year, we have seen an increasing level of quality and passion in the Game Challenge competitors,” said Monty Sharma, MassDiGI’s managing director. “We’ve received amazing feedback both from our industry mentors and judges on all of the teams that competed this year – from indies to college and high school students. Based on what we’ve seen here this weekend, we are very optimistic about the future of the area’s industry.”

80HD Games, a student start-up from Becker College, won the College Entertainment Game Prototype category for its reverse tower defense game, Bümbardia. This is the second time in three years that 80HD Games has won that category.

Serious Game Concept, Indie Entertainment Concept and College Entertainment Concept category-winning awards went to Giant Otter Technologies for Bread and Roses, Stimpaq Studios for Virtuoso Vengeance and Becker’s Spaghetti Flavored Cake for String Theory.

Indie runners-up went to Now and Zen Studios for Big Bat Baseball, Golden Hammer Software for Big Mountain Snowboarding 2, Spherical Cow Games for Stickman: The Dungeons of Math and PBn’ Games for Zeebi Zoo. An Indie honorable mention went to Subaltern Games for No Pineapple Left Behind.

College runners-up went to Mustachio Games, a team of Binghamton and Northeastern University students, for Red Survivor and Double Trouble, a team of Becker students, for Duo. College honorable mentions went to teams from Champlain College, Becker and Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

By entering, all MassDiGI Game Challenge game concepts are also eligible for inclusion in the 2014 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program, a $20,000 value, to help develop their game for launch.

College and university students looking to break into the interactive entertainment industry are welcome to apply for the 2014 MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program. Accepted applicants will work full-time alongside a team of peers under the guidance of industry mentors over 11 weeks on the campus of Becker College in Worcester, Mass. Students accepted into the program will receive free housing over the summer, as well as a stipend. To apply, visit The deadline for applications is March 21.

The 2014 MassDiGI Game Challenge was made possible through the support of sponsors including Microsoft, GSN Games, MassTech Collaborative’s Innovation Institute, Greenberg Traurig, Muzzy Lane Software, Becker College, Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, Adyen; FableVision, Ubisoft Montreal; Dejobaan Games, RockStar New England, Execution Labs, PAX East, Wacom, Great Eastern Technology, Adobe and the ESA Foundation.  

About the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI)

MassDiGI, based in Worcester, is statewide center for academic collaboration, entrepreneurship and economic development across the regional digital and video games ecosystem. MassDiGI’s initiatives support business growth and enhance the talent pipeline between higher education and the game industry. For more information about MassDiGI, visit, join us at or follow us @mass_digi.