The third annual ChicTech Retreat (pronounced ’sheek-tek’) was held April 22-23, 2006 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ChicTech is an outreach program created by the UIUC Department of Computer Science, and the Retreat is the annual culmination of a year-long high school program serving 300 of Illinois’ teenage girls. The ChicTech program and accompanying Technical Ambassador Competition are designed to encourage girls to consider math and science as legitimate career and personal interests. This year’s competition winners were a team from Plainfield South High School who created a stats package for the boys’ bowling team, but several teams received recognition for their projects.
The thirty (female) winners from the Technical Ambassador Competition attended the 2006 ChicTech Retreat where they served as live, teenage judges for the 2006 Games 4 Girls (G4G) Competition. The G4G Competition is open to any group of female game developers currently enrolled in a college or university. Twenty-three teams entered the competition, although only eight managed to finish their game projects. Judging is split between the ChicTech girls and a panel of actual game developers.
Of the eight entrants, four were noted for honors. These include teams from Cornell, UC Irvine, North Central College and the University at Buffalo. Each team created a small game in Game Maker, a well-known authoring system developed to teach game design concepts in courses to students with a wide variety of backgrounds. All of these games are playable on standard Windows XP-based machines and withstood the gameplay testing of 30 high school girls as well as two professional game designers and a representative from last year’s winning G4G team.
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Plasma Pong is a completely tripped-out version of regular Pong that incorporates fluid dynamics. In addition to deflecting the ball with your paddle, you can now use jets and vortices of fluid pressure to help guide the ball. And all of this is rendered in a super-colorful “plasma” style. If you love the visual style of games like Geometry Wars, Mutant Storm, and Darwinia, then you need to check this one out. Click here to download Plasma Pong, free for Windows PCs.
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Alternative Games is an independent webzine focused on all forms of unorthodox gaming, eccentric game culture, and problematic play.
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