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College Women Prove Gaming Development Dexterity in Competition

Students from Arizona State University, Cedarville University in Ohio, and Cornell University in New York recently won first, second, and third places, respectively, in the Games 4 Girls Competition, sponsored by the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the competition, nicknamed, "ChicTech," teams of up to five college women designed computer games specifically for middle school and high school girls. The entries were then judged by high school girls using just one criterion: how much fun they were to play.

For the competition, Arizona State's team created Pearly, about a customizable mermaid who needs to collect shells to repair her friend's ruined city. She can use special items but has to avoid various sea creatures and anchors.

Cedarville's team developed Hott Lead, a role-playing adventure game in which a detective tries to save a girl's father.

The Cornell team created Fuzzle Puzzle. Similar to Tetris, the goal of the game is create black Fuzzles by combining the right primary and secondary colored Fuzzles and using powerups and special items.

"This is a great experience for the female engineering and computer science students," said Vicky Fang, assistant professor of computer engineering at Cedarville. "There is no doubt the programming techniques we used in this competition will benefit their academic performance."

The team members at Cedarville worked on the project for three months, making graphics, writing the story, and programming.

"It was enlightening to see what I've learned in class actually being applied to a real-life situation," said Stephanie Russell, a Cedarville sophomore computer science major from Butler, PA.

"This experience made me much more confident in my programming skills," added Alissa Johnson, a Cedarville junior computer science major from Lapeer, MI. "It also allowed me the chance to learn a new programming language, and it showed me a different side of computer programming that I had not experienced previously."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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