Mayor gets serious about video games to build a better Buffalo

Wed, 2015-02-25 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

Mayor Byron Brown is hoping technology enthusiasts will use their creativity to help build a better Buffalo. He's hosting a Serious Computer Game Design Competition – with a top prize of $5,000 – to encourage the design and development of "serious" video games.

By serious, Mayor Brown is looking for game concepts that embrace several key concepts. For example, winning concepts should:

  • Teach life skills and employable skills that lead to meaningful employment
  • Highlight the importance of diversity in society and in the workplace
  • Educate and entertain while promoting the city of Buffalo, New York

The mayor also wants competitors to create electronic games that can be played on multiple formats (i.e. phone or tablet app, computer, game console). The first round will take place March 20-22 and three finalists who create the most innovative prototypes will receive cash prizes and advance into the next rounds, which will take place in April. Those interested can register here.

Competition inspired by IBM
"I’m excited and surprised that the mayor proposed this type of competition because it rarely comes from government," Przemyslaw “P.J.” Moskal, associate professor in the Digital Media Arts Program at Canisius College, told The Buffalo News. "We’re like underground game developers in Buffalo, and all of a sudden the mayor’s office is contacting us to do this. So that was really, really great."

The concept for the game competition actually came from Council Lead Partner IBM, which in 2013 awarded Buffalo one of its Smarter Cities Challenge grants.

"Now is the time to start designing a game about Buffalo that will be produced and taken to the market," Brown said in The Buffalo News article. "I thank IBM for its support on this project and, of course, for its plan to bring 500 employees to downtown Buffalo."

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that IBM will bring 500 new information technology jobs to Buffalo and become the first tenant in the new Buffalo Information Technologies Innovation and Commercialization Hub.

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