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the beach episode

June 22nd-23rd, 2024

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EGD's FREE Convention & Conference

Waffle Games is the EGD's annual convention and conference (usually) held each spring semester - run by students, for students. Our 2023 event brought in over 600 students, recent grads, and industry professionals to City College to play, design, compete, and learn. This year, we welcome you to join us in June during the NYC Summer of Games!

The care of the future of games is ours

...and when we democratize games education, we all win.

More than just an affordable con, Waffle Games is a celebration of what it means to be involved with gaming. Panels, workshops, tournaments, and an expo hall come to life every spring with one mission: to allow everyone the chance to get involved with the community, chase their dreams, and change our industry for the better.

XR Panel (2021): Jessica Kantor, The Look Club; Noelle Masurek, Games for Change; Lawrence Yang, Valve; Will Roberts, VR Diamond Leauge; Lupe Leos, California State University Long Beach.

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Game Translation and Localization (2019)​: Ayaka Sato, College of Staten Island


June 22nd - Day 1 (CCNY NAC Building)
June 23rd - Day 2 (Virtual)

  • IRL & virtual expo hall with over 50 exhibitors to interact with! Play their games, try their products, and ogle at their art while you try to convince yourself that you don't need another fanart print of your favorite character. 

  • Panels, workshops, and talks from industry professionals, hobbyists, and people like you! We encourage anyone who has something to share to do so - from career advice on breaking into games, to how to make the best D&D map.

  • Gaming sessions from Jackbox Party Pack to 7 Wonders, as well as drop-in PUGs.

  • No entry fee tournaments, including League of Legends, Mariokart, Teamfight Tactics, and SSBU.

  • One-shot RPG campaigns for both beginner and experienced players. 

  • Networking opportunities. Chat and meet with peers and industry professionals.

  • Free-to-enter and donation raffles. You could win merch, games, maybe even something bigger...


Building Better Worlds through Game Culturalization (2021)​: Kate Edwards, Geogrify/Global Game Jam

Made Possible By:


Session Tracks

Career Exploration

Gain insight into your potential career path! Discover what skills you need, what the profession entails, how to find the right opportunities, and how to build a portfolio that can get you noticed. 

In Practice

More technical sessions aimed at building and expanding fundamental skills, as well as case studies and deep-dives. 

Around the Industry

Dive into current industry innovations with topics such as inclusivity, esports, the metaverse, education, and socially-driven experiences. We invite you to share your insights, solve problems, and shape the future of the gaming industry. 

Community of Play

Casual gamers and fandom-lovers unite! Players, hobbyists, and creators of all kinds can benefit from these sessions centered on gaming communities.

June 22 Schedule

How Your Values Affect Your Game's Global Success | Kate Edwards | 11:30AM-12:30PM | 1/201

In today's world, the impact of real-world politics and cultural shifts on the gaming industry is more apparent than ever. Recent events have prompted game companies to reassess their creative decisions in light of evolving global dynamics. With governments worldwide implementing new regulations and restrictions, game developers face the challenge of balancing their artistic integrity with the need to appeal to diverse markets for revenue. This session delves into the complex interplay between company values, external events, and market demands, offering insights on how game developers can navigate these challenges effectively, from pre-production to post-release.

Kate Edwards is an award-winning 30+ year veteran of the game industry, and the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy which innovated content culturalization, as well as the CXO and Co-Founder of SetJetters, a film tourism app. She is also the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and the Global Game Jam. In 2021, she was included in the Forbes' "50 Over 50" Vision List and was also inducted into the Women in Games Hall of Fame. Her work can be seen in the Age of Empires series, Dead Rising series, Street Fighter 6, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Dragon Age II, and many more!


Inclusive Design: The Story of HugMatch | Gabriel Lee | 12:30PM-01:30PM | 1/201

The history of toys shows that toys are a form of tool that fulfills our instincts for play and learning. Created as an MFA thesis at Parsons School of Design, HugMatch is an interactive toy and accompanying game for visually impaired toddlers that stimulates the senses and skills that typically develop at their age—touch, sound, and social cues. With this toy, children also learn how to socially interact, communicate their opinion, compromise and cooperate with each other. HugMatch was the culmination of months of research at different schools and institutions for the blind, including St. Joseph’s School for the Blind and Lighthouse International. This talk will discuss the process of inclusive design through the lessons learned from this project that can be applied in both digital and physical design.


Gabriel Lee is a project manager and head of public affairs for Hugmatch. Prior to joining the team, he worked at the United Nations, served in the US military, and taught English in Korea.

There's a Cube, There's a Button: Building Puzzles Through Experiential Learning | Josh Hirshfield | 12:30-1:30PM | 1/202

In this talk, we'll explore the construction of puzzles by integrating learning theory and experiential learning concepts. Players engage in active, passive, and experiential forms of self-driven learning within the game environment. Drawing from examples in other game projects, we'll illustrate how these principles can create engaging and educational experiences. By leveraging these techniques in our own work, we empower players to develop advanced understandings of complex systems. Attendees can expect to gain a solid grasp of puzzle design fundamentals, ensuring they leave with valuable insights for their own projects.


Josh Hirshfield is an award winning game designer and developer with a rich portfolio of indie, AAA, and educational work. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Games at New York University and Pratt Institute, as well as the Lead Developer of Vivarium.

Being Part of an Indie Studio: The Decoy Games Experience | Ahmed Abdullah, Khalil Abdullah, Victor Perez, Jamal Woods, Emilio Lopez, Porrith Song | 1:00PM-2:00PM | 1/201

Curious about the inner workings of an indie game studio? Unsure about the entry point or the essential skills required? Join us for insights straight from the creative minds at Decoy Games. From developers to animators, concept artists to studio leads, we'll share our collective experiences. What began as a humble duo has blossomed into a team of 30 diverse talents, each with their own path into the industry. Discover the secrets of breaking into game development and glean invaluable advice for your own journey.


Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah are Co-Founders and Developers of Decoy Games. With no prior professional game development experience, they used their deep passion for video games and extensive imagination to start building their own development studio. Today, Decoy Games is a multi-award winning game company focused on creating unique game experiences, merchandise and content while also using their platform to encourage innovation across all aspects of the game industry.

Does She Slay? Is He Giving Zaddy? Developing and Validating Visually Resonant Characters | Mason Capitano | 01:30PM-2:00PM | 1/202

Marquee characters are one of the vital ingredients of a developing game’s recipe to bring in players and get them to love what you’re cooking. But how do you know your character designs are the real deal? In today’s crowded games space, it’s more important than ever to ensure your game has memorable, resonant, and exciting characters. Good characters are simply not good enough. In this talk, learn about a framework for designing and evaluating character visuals that will make your game outshine others at a glance.


Mason has been a researcher in the games space for the last decade. Currently he is the Director of Research and Analytics at The Believer Company. Previous to joining Believer he spent time at Nuverse, Riot Games, Bethesda, and Activision, working on some of best and biggest franchises including League of Legends, Call of Duty, DOOM, and The Elder Scrolls.

Setting the Stage: Storylines for Esports | Leanne Huang | 02:00PM-02:30PM | 1/202
With a focus on NA League of Legends, this talk will take you through a typical story meeting structure for insight on the importance of storylines, how player storylines are set, and what assets or other parts of a broadcast work to support these stories that connect the game to the fans.

Leanne is a freelance graphic designer and producer, who is currently with Supernova in the NACL. She's previously worked on LCS Proving Grounds Qualifiers as an assistant producer and tournament admin.

Cross-Stitching Pixels | Alex Wiercioch | 02:00PM-03:00PM | 1/201
Join us for a workshop on cross-stitch, while we create our favorite pixelized video game characters! Walk away with a keychain.  

Alex Wiercioch is a Junior at Hunter College. He enjoys plants, crafts, and video games.

How to Design a Fighting Game | M. Paul Weeks | 02:30PM-3:30PM | 1/202
Fighting games have a reputation for being one of the hardest genres to design. Each small decision can have cascading effects on balance and game feel. In this talk, we explore the building blocks behind a fighting game engine, how to establish good rules and patterns, and why balance can be so tricky.

M. Paul Weeks is the co-creator of the browser-based, indie fighting game Tough Love Arena. He is a web dev with proficiency in several backend tech stacks & modern frontend frameworks. He currently teaches and is a public speaker at fan conventions. He is also the founder of an office Barbershop Quartet that saw multiple performances.

Game Studio Program Info Session | EGD Staff | 02:30PM-3:00PM | 1/203
EGD’s Game Studio Program is a playfully professional development experience and project incubator. Take part in a mock AAA studio and choose one of 21 concentrations, while attending networking trips and polishing your portfolio. Meet staff, students, and alumni from EGD's Game Studio Program and get your questions answered! GSP is open to all current students and recent graduates in the US, and CUNY students can major in games with it!

Player/Character Relationships in MMOs | Skye Guan | 03:00PM-03:30PM | 1/203
When you're playing a game, your character is like your eyes and ears in that virtual world. They're often designed to reflect you in some way, visually or thematically. But not everyone sees their in-game character as a direct extension of themselves, even in games like Final Fantasy XIV Online where you're encouraged to really get into your character. There are two main ways people relate to their in-game characters: some see them as personal reflections or extensions of themselves, while others see them more as tools to control the game and shape their gaming experience. Join Skye Guan as he discusses his research on this topic from his ongoing Master’s Thesis.

Skye Guan is an educator, game designer, digital artist, writer, and programmer, currently pursuing an MA in Game Design at Lindenwood University. Equipped with a BA in Game Studies and a background in queer & feminist theory, he specializes in exploring the dynamic relationships between games, cultures, and players through both research and games.

Designing Games Without a Budget | Lawrence Mascia & Shawn Gee | 03:00PM-3:30PM | 1/201
A basic introduction to the creation of digital games for people who are just starting out with no resources available and no budget to begin with. This talk provides you with ideas and allows you to have an open discussion about getting started with your first game as well as taking it to a state where you can have it published on a platform of your choice!

Lawrence Mascia and Shawn Gee are co-Creative Directors for Goodnight Games. Lawrence has also been a professor of game design at The New York Institute of Technology for over 12 years.

Pixel Art in the Modern Industry | Marceline Gainsboro | 3:30PM-4:30PM | 1/201
Pixel art is one of the oldest aesthetics in the gaming industry, dating back almost as far as video games themselves. But as gaming's relationship with technology evolves, how do we find new ways to keep pixel art alive- or more importantly, how do we get paid for it?

Marceline is a professional pixel artist and animator with a history working on indie titles big and small, as well as, funny enough, major motion pictures. She's dabbled in all sorts of styles, programs, and tools, creating content and mods for games like Rivals of Aether, and Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart.

Climbing Games: Importance of the Journey | Isabellie Konty | 02:00PM-02:30PM | 1/203
The last decade has seen an increasing number of climbing games, where one's goal is to reach some glorious summit through vertical progression. And yet, when one reaches this summit, they still choose to find another. We are not satiated by the summit, but by the climb.

Isabellie is a recent graduate from the NYU Game Center and current indie developer based in NYC. She works every area of development, but is well and truly awful at art. Her current game, Psycho Coded✨, is part of the Waffle Games exhibition and her previous game, What?!, is available on Steam.

Gifting Games: Developing For Friends | Logan Cavaliere | 03:30PM-04:00PM | 1/203
Have you ever thought that your own video game projects and ideas could be used for more than just boosting your portfolio or as exercises to keep up programming skills? It turns out that they absolutely can! In this presentation, Logan from Glass Robot, will be showing you how to turn a fun yet simple gamedev project into birthday presents for friends and family, inspiring knickknacks for your home or workspace, and of course fuel for creative portfolios.

Logan is the Co-Founder and Creative Lead of Glass Robot, a local game developer and Satellite Team for the International Game Developers Association from Long Island with 10 years of experience in creating impactful experiences across entertainment media, various service industries, and in educational environments. Credits include developing indie games such as Tranquil Garden and Clear Circuits, teaching game design curricula in schools across the Valley Stream Central and Roosevelt Union Free School Districts, and public speaking with Family & Children's Association about homelessness in New York as well as the power of gamification of businesses.

Designing a Blueprint for Collegiate Esports Success | Alexander Raff | 3:30PM-4:00PM | 1/202
Brooklyn College has cemented itself in just under 2 years as one of the most competitive esports programs in the Northeast. However, it took a lot of work from several student leaders, administrators and industry veterans to make it happen. Using this example, we will examine how it all came together and how other schools, students, as well as administrators can push the envelope for competitive success on a tight budget. Simultaneously, it will tell the story of unique student engagement from the casual player to the aspiring pro alongside the argument for why public colleges should prioritize this innovative recruitment and retention vehicle. 

Alexander Raff is the current Director of Esports at Brooklyn College. As a US Army veteran, he shifted gears from his competitive lifestyle as a Modern Army Combatives Program assistant instructor (and later college wrestler) into coaching League of Legends. Because New York City has a highly talented gaming community, Alexander hopes to bring this success to all of CUNY.

League of Legends Tribunal | Darnell Benoit, Cory McKen, Daquan Griffith, Kai Hei Wong, Phong Nguyen | 04:00PM-05:00PM | 1/202
A theatric interactive session where people can bring their teammates to trial and get totally official legal decisions on who was right. Worlds 2023 merch available to participants! 
Led by the honorable judge Darnell Benoit, and his jury members.

Karaoke | Lorie Lamont | 4:00PM-5:00PM | 1/203
Join us for karaoke! Grab your friends, grab the mic.

Crossroads and Crosstalk: A Gamer’s Journey | Anthony Rossi | 4:30PM-5:00PM | 1/201
So you enjoy gaming, but there's got to be something more. You may have an idea that you pursue, but after a while your priorities may shift. Or, even better, you gain more skills and confidence along the way. Join Anthony Rossi, Event Director of the 1UpState Game Dev Expo, as he shares all his lessons learned moving from gaming as a simple hobby into something more. Something so much more!

Anthony Rossi is a a life long gamer and the Event Director of the 1UpState Game Dev Expo. He works to bridge connections within the gaming industry for future generations and creatives.

  • Why should I study games?
    Games are *everywhere* these days. You can't be a kid and not play Minecraft, VR/AR are the newest things in the tech sector, esports are selling out stadiums, and everyone from hospitals to opera houses are using games to engage and interact. Games are the newest form of storytelling and art, but also at the forefront of research breakthroughs. They're changing how we live, work, and play. We're on the brink of a social revolution!
  • How viable is this career path anyways?
    The industry is an infamously hard place to break in to (and stay in). Jobs openings for game developers in AAA are hard to find, but jobs in other gaming-related fields are growing (especially in VR/AR). Today's definitions of a video game and video game creator are completely different than they were - and there are so many more ways to work in games than AAA these days! There's the infamous indie side hustle, a boom in the demand in academia, and many non-game companies, nonprofits, and even the government are now hiring game designers! There are also adjacent fields in tech, media, and the arts that your degree will prepare you to pursue as well - you're just learning those skills through the lense of game development and esports! And we won't leave you hanging. We assist with internship and job placements.
  • How much time will I need to dedicate to the program?
    You should expect ~6 hours a week. This includes your night section (and Wednesday afternoons for first-year students), trips, and group/solo work. Hours will vary from week to week, but you will know far in advance!
  • Where and when do the programs happen?
    Exploration students in all sections meet virtually Wednesdays from 1-3PM ET in addition to their main section. NYC section meets Friday night from 7PM-9PM ET in-person at City College. National section meets one weekday night a week from 6PM-7PM PT / 9PM-10PM ET virtually. This changes each year based off of the group's availability If you are intersted in starting an in-person section on your campus or in your city, please reach out to
  • Can I be in both GSP and EMP?
    Yes. If you are a CUNY student, you will need to pursue a dual concentration. Please see "CUNY Section" FAQ for more info about pursing a dual concentration.
  • Are there any costs associated with the program?
    EGD's Fellowship programs are free for EGD voting members. If you are not an EGD member, acceptance into the program will be contingent on you becoming an EGD voting member, which costs $10 a year.
  • I have a religious obligation on Friday nights. Can I still be in the NYC section?
    Yes! The NYC section runs on Friday nights because most students end their courses ~5PM on Fridays. If you have religious obligations, please note that in your application and we will excuse you from participating on those days. Although Friday nights are a main component of the program, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to take advantage of!
  • I'm an incoming freshman! Do I have to wait until after my first semester?
    You do not. It's actually highly suggested that you apply as soon as you commit to a college. You do not need to choose a concentration until the end of Exploration, so apply early! If you have already been accepted into any CUNY community college or senior college, you may apply to the CUNY section the program.
  • My GPA is under a 2.8. Can I still apply?
    Yes! We will accept students into the program conditionally. However, your GPA must be raised to a 2.8 by the end of your first year in the program.
  • I am a part time student. Can I still apply?
    Yes! Please list your expected graduation semester in your application so we can place you in the correct studio group or academic plan.
  • I'm a senior and just found out about this! Can I still apply?
    Students in their final semesters completing a relevant degree, with a strong track record of experiences in their chosen discipline, will be admitted to our Transitional Program. We ask that seniors applying submit their resume. For students in their final semesters of school interested in the Fellows program who are not completing a relevant degree, we suggest completing your current degree and entering a second degree program at your school, or a games masters program - and then applying to GSP or EMP. This will ensure you get enough experience, while not needing to do 4 more years of school. CUNY students that are willing to take an extra year to matriculate into CUNY BA may do so, but we suggest doing CUNY BA as a second degree if your degree wasn't relevant so you can still get recognition for your unrelated degree.
  • So are concentrations majors? Or...
    They might be! We will work with you to find the degree program at your school that most closely aligns with your career goals. If your college does not have an official program related to your chosen concentration, many schools have an interdisciplinary program - you most likely will be studying within that department. CUNY section Concentrations are not *technically* majors, but are basically the same! You will be awarded a Bachelors of Arts or a Bachelors of Science, degrees are accredited and conferred by the CUNY Graduate Center, and you will list your concentration name on your resume where your major would be.
  • I'm not sure what concentration I want to pursue yet!
    You can safely be undecided until around the end of your sophomore year! Although we push students to pick a concentration after the end of freshman year so you can begin foundational courses, many concentrations share core classes - so you won't fall behind if you need another year to figure it out.
  • What if I want to focus on two things?
    Careers in games generally require high specialization. A dual concentration will function in your academic plan as a double major, so you come out highly skilled in both areas of interest. Dual concentrations will require more planning, so if you want to pursue it, it's best you start your studies before 60 credits (end of sophomore year). You will need two faculty mentors, one for each concentration. For CUNY Section students, you can do a dual concentration through CUNY BA.
  • Can I switch concentrations?
    Switching your concentration is just as hard as switching your major. It is possible, but you may need to take an extra semester or two depending on how far into your studies you are. If you are unsure about which concentration you'd like to pursue, we reccommend not declaring it outright and taking the time to work with our advisors to figure it out!
  • How do I know if my application has been recieved?
    We process applications in batches every month over the summer, and every other month during the semester. If you have not recieved an email after 60 days, shoot us an email!
  • I missed the deadline. What now?
    Your application will be processed for the next upcoming semester! We accept Fall students up until the last week of September, and Spring students up until the last week of January. You can request an appointment with an advisor before applying if your course registration date is coming up soon!
  • Do I need to have a faculty mentor before applying?
    Nope! We'll work with you to find an advisor.
  • Why do we run through CUNY BA, and why should you be excited about it?
    CUNY BA students are highly motivated; the average GPA of entering students is 3.35. CUNY BA accepts most credits students have previously taken (up to 90, including military, IB and AP credits) and apply them to degree requirements. Students know their remaining degree requirements on their first day in CUNY BA! Enrolled students can apply for life experience credits. You’ll be able to apply for financial aid and scholarships at your home college. You’ll also be able to apply for CUNY BA's scholarships! Not only is CUNY the most affordable university in New York, with so many flexible options for earning credit through CUNY BA, it's the most cost-effective. Students enrolled in a CUNY community college can apply to CUNY BA and start working on their B.A. or B.S. degrees immediately. Up to 68 community college credits can be accepted. Enjoy all the benefits of your home college and CUNY BA! Each student works with a full-time CUNY faculty member and a designated academic advisor. CUNY BA offers workshops on applying to graduate school, applying for major fellowships, studying abroad, and others based on student interest. Students have access to CUNY courses in all five NYC boroughs, in addition to amazing internship opportunities. Select the courses that interest you most. Take advantage of independent study, internships, honors courses, study abroad, graduate-level courses and credit-by-exam. Go to school part- or full-time; day, night, weekend or online. Get the degree that will work for you: 80% of CUNY BA alumni report they are working in positions related to their self-designed areas of concentration! And 99% say they enjoyed it and would recommend it to others.
  • Is EGD officially affiliated with CUNY or CUNY BA?
    No. The EGD Collective is an independant nonprofit organization, run by some very dedicated CUNY students and alumni! We work to remove barriers in games communities and makie the industry a more accessible academic and career opportunity for all. EGD supports casual gaming communities, as well as aspiring and early-career games professionals by powering public-facing student-led organizations on state college and university campuses. EGD provide free events, educational programming, and support systems to help students navigate through academic, financial, and emotional crises - ensuring students can complete their education and are prepared to establish healthy workplace boundaries in whichever field they choose. The first EGD member college was founded at CUNY Hunter College in 2016, and we've been here ever since!
  • I'm a Macaulay Honors College student. Can I still apply?
    Yes! CUNY BA awards joint degrees with MHC.
  • What if I don't ever make it into CUNY BA?
    This should not be the case if games are something you really want to pursue. Students with a low GPA are often in their first year of study, or were taking classes/majoring in something they did not have an affinity for or enjoy. We'll help you find your calling and raise your GPA if you've had a rough semester (or a few). You may need to take an extra semester or so to get back on track, but you can do it!



Kyra Wills-Umdenstock

MPA - NYU '26
Hunter College '20


Huimin Zhuo

MSW - Hunter College '23
Hunter College '19


Kai Lacerna



Bian Pasiliao

Queens College '22


Marlene Santos

City College '25





Daquan Griffith


Screen Shot 2023-04-25 at 12.47.11 PM.png





The New School '22


Tomasz Wiercioch

Brooklyn College '20


Brandon Smith



Nelson Lieu

Hunter College '23


Amanda Lum



Wiktor Kolakowski



Iggy Pua-Venzon

Fordham '23


Emmanuel Contreras







Hunter College '24


Vincent Liok

NYU '23

Michael Poorun






Randall Formelu

MA - Miami University '23
Saint Michael's College '20




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