SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The University of Utah‘s nationally recognized video game development program was put in the spotlight this week with its annual “EAE Launch 2023” event.

After three years of online only, the in-person event that took place on Wednesday, April 26, featured students from the university’s Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) video game program as they shared the gaming creations they’ve worked on for the past year.

For this year’s event, more than 20 games were showcased from undergraduate and graduate student teams. This includes games from year-long projects courses, games with designs that use “alternate” controllers to support creative interaction, and those designed and created as “machinima” — which are short films made entirely within 3D game engines.

Research work from EAE was also shown, highlighting a collaborative effort with the University of Utah’s Center for Medical Innovation and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, where games were created with an emphasis on education and health.

“Every student who graduates has a published game that they own,” said Roger Altizer, associate professor and co-founder of EAE. “So, when they graduate, they’re not a potential game developer — they’re a published game developer.”

At the event, members of the public were invited to test out the games, which are largely available for digital download on gaming storefronts like Steam.

These student-produced games were developed using their own innovative ideas and storytelling, with some of the titles such as:

Slime Knight: Use an extendable slime arm to “dissolve,” punch, grab, and throw enemies in order to save your slime brethren and navigate through the decrepit insides of an ancient worm. 

Rudra: A Tale of Time: A role-playing game inspired by Hindi scriptures. Embark on a journey of self-discovery by unlocking chakras and using mantras to save the universe from the forces of evil. 

Wretched Depths: A unique take on the fishing game. But this time, the player explores a small town and fishes for horrifying monsters. 

Your Average Bear: A stealth game in which the player controls a black bear who steals food from humans and delivers the food to animals with a food delivery app, “UBearEats.” 

Maze Compass: A puzzle game where the player uses an alternative controller compass to explore the past and present where two lovers are destined to split. 

The Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) program was first started in 2007 as part of the University of Utah’s College of Engineering.

It was recently ranked 2nd in the country as part of the world’s public universities for Top Game Design Schools, according to rankings from Princeton Review, and took the 8th rank by U.S. News & World Report for “Best Undergraduate Game Design Programs.”