Rensselaer To Host GameFest 2024 on April 27

Annual game design showcase and competition marks gaming program’s 20th anniversary during RPI’s Bicentennial

April 24, 2024

GameFest 2024

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host its annual GameFest on Saturday, April 27, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) on RPI’s campus. 

The event is free and open to the public.

What began as a small student showcase two decades ago now draws developers from across New York State and New England who are working at the cutting edge of game design. Presented annually by the Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences (GSAS) program, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary as RPI observes its Bicentennial, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS), GameFest 2024 foregrounds the innovative spirit of the Rensselaer model for education and research while also highlighting New York’s growing digital gaming scene.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to hold GameFest at EMPAC this year to commemorate these campus milestones, and to celebrate the game design community throughout the region,” said Ben Chang, director of GSAS.

Teams from Rensselaer and schools throughout the region will participate in the showcase and competition. A panel of industry experts, all of whom bring a wealth of experience from across the game development world, will award cash prizes to the winners in each category. The showcase will feature over 30 games by students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the City University of New York, and the University of Connecticut, as well as teams in RPI’s Level Upstate games incubator. 

Visitors to GameFest can play a diverse range of games, from action adventure to cozy simulations and everything in between. Play as a telekinetic Jerboa, a mushroom, a ninja in a trampoline park. Work in the quality assurance department at a cartoon bomb factory, manage a pirate crew or a bed and breakfast for birds, and explore dark fantasy worlds. Explore Persian history and tradition, unite spirits by growing an underground network of roots, experience an experimental narrative on divorced parents’ grief after the loss of their daughter. Investigate the secrets of a corrupt fantasy world and fight creepy (yet somehow adorable?) monsters in turn-based battles, all to pay the bills in this world where being a magical girl is a regular 9-5 job. And of course, no expo is complete without a fishing minigame. Try casting with a custom-made fishing pole interface device, or strap on a VR headset and fight leaping bass with your bare hands.

The event will include a graduate research symposium, organized by students in RPI’s Critical Game Design Ph.D. program, which will explore theoretical and practical developments in gaming and the game design industry.

The event is made possible in part by a grant from New York State’s Empire State Development and support from the Capital Region’s digital gaming companies. A full schedule for the day can be found at

Written By Christian TeBordo
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