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Judging at Games Fleadh 2020

I attended Games Fleadh for the first time yesterday. The athmosphere was both competitive and celebratory. Students had worked hard to make their games. Each team has a different story, each college and course has a different emphasis. Hard work has been put into every game, and we must congradulate everyone who has managed to get through the myriad challenges and hurdles to turn up at the Games Fleadh with a playable game – no matter what state of polish it may have.

This event seeks to recognise those who achieved highly in their efforts. While certainly there are games made here that are of high quality, and worthy of praise, I find it a little odd that the “playing field” is so unbalanced. We judge each submission we can get our hands on for the qualities present in that submission – we don’t account for the fact that some games may have months of development time, whereas some might have as little as four weeks.

As someone working in the games industry with years of experience of judging game jams, I was happy to volunteer as a member of the judging team.

The effort on display was awe-inspiring, with over 20 games from student teams spanning seven different colleges and universities.

I was impressed at how the Games Fleadh organisers and volunteers handled everything with professionalism and grace.

We had limited time to play each game and judge each game. However, these challenges were overcome easily by the experienced Games Fleadh team. The judges were grouped into judging teams, each assigned a list of games to judge and given guides on how to award points for each category. Very efficiently done.

I also noted that the students were often using disposable gloves, and they regularly wiped down game controllers and input devices after being used. I guess this is a sight we will see more of at large gatherings, and honestly, I am relieved about this. Fair play to everyone involved.

Big thanks to Sam Redfern (Psychic Software) for the lift to Tipperary and the recommendation.