Riverfront Games

Matt Hawkins
July 23, 2015

The Peoria community delighted in imaginative games during Bradley’s annual interactive media showcase. Guests donned virtual reality goggles, portrayed video game villains and explored student portfolios at the event, which filled Peoria Riverfront Museum for a day.

Guests both young and old were entertained by creative games and displays from more than 100 students. Projects spotlighted the IM program’s majors in animation, game design and web and application design.

“I’m always impressed by the work students do,” said IM instructor Scott Cavanah. “Because our students spend a lot of time in front of computers, they often can’t see the results of what they’re doing. This is a great opportunity for them to bring projects to life and show the public that we have amazing students.”

Students filled the museum’s atrium with several games, an iPad-based virtual band app, portfolio displays and a green screen. In addition, three student-produced shows introduced the public to the Bradley program on the museum’s giant 52-foot theater screen.

Emily Ault ’15 of Naperville, Illinois, and several classmates developed “Finders Keepers,” an Android mobile app game that sends players through a virtual house in search of hidden candy. Their game drew a steady flow of children and parents.

“It’s a rewarding experience to see people playing the game,” Ault said. “After we worked so hard on the project, today is a good way to show what we’ve done and enjoy working with people playing it.”

Casey Stark ’17 of Bolingbrook, Illinois, was the lead programmer for a team that designed “Stomp,” the video game in which players took on the role of traditional villains. She noted the year of preparation would be beneficial when she seeks a job in the video game industry.

“My passion is video games, so this is important for my portfolio,” she said.

The day at the museum also may have piqued the interest of the next generation of game designers. Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts Dean Dr. Jeffrey Huberman observed the seeds planted by positive exposure to the field.

“Young people use it to form their idea of what they’ll want to study in college,” he said. “A lot of people here will be IM majors and in 10 years they will be presenting their work.”

Bradley’s IM department has become a nationally recognized program since it was formed in 2009. It now boasts more than 100 students and is recognized as a top program by publications such as Princeton Review and Animation Career Review. The game design major is ranked 13th nationally and is the highest ranked school in Illinois.