The ScreenBurn at SXSW Arcade has opened with a sweat-inducing fight to the finish! Well maybe not quite as brutal as attendees were expecting, but two companies are on hand to display their visions of the future right across from each other, eye to eye, in the heart of Exhibit 2 of the Austin Convention Center: Heatwave Interactive and Twist Education.
Heatwave Interactive brings the noise with their Facebook game Platinum Life," a rags-to-riches parable set in the hip-hop world where players decide if they want their in-game avatar to be the ultimate hero or the ultimate zero. Players choose from over 700 items to customize their character with, each granting specific points to several stats in the game that ultimately determines whether audiences love or hate you in rap battles against other artists. But if you're thinking this is just another game where style reigns over substance, brand manager Chris "Binky" Launius has some knowledge to drop on you.
"This is a game about finally erasing the negative stereotypes attached to the hip-hop world, about what it takes to really bust your butt for your passion," Launius says. "We're trying to be culturally sensitive and really work with real world artists such as Ludacris to nail the details. Even the artwork is paid close attention to. We're not mocking it, only representing it."
Launius says that Heatwave Interactive is already set to announce 15 other artists who have been lined up to appear in the game, all with their biographies, songs, and specific stats in tow. But directly across the center comes another challenger whose ready to drop knowledge on attendees in another area: the field of science. Heatwave Interactive is not only showing off their goods in the ScreenBurn at SXSW Arcade, they're hosting an evening networking event called The Hip Hop Social: The Platinum Life this Tuesday, March 16 from 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm at the Belmont.
Twist Education, based in San Antonio, TX, has their sights set on building interest and competence in science through games, joining the community of organizations working to attract students to careers in science, technology, engineering and math. But as CEO Stephan Samuelson has come to know, just because you have an idea doesn't mean everyone's going to jump on the bandwagon. "There's certainly some resistance from teachers who think our education through gaming methods are going to be taking away from what they're doing, sort of like that 'robots will take over our jobs' mentality," Samuelson says. "But I don't see it that way, I think that the education process can go hand-in-hand with other ways of teaching like we have here at Twist Education."
” Twist’s mission is to increase interest and competence in science and to empower teachers to engage the 21st century learner. Their booth at the ScreenBurn Arcade is currently seeking fellow friends of science, with a raffle for a FREE iPod Touch each day at 5pm upon completion of an information card! Winners must be present during the scheduled time to win. "
We really want to build interest an interest in science for the next generation," Samuelson says. "My fear is that we'll get to a point in the future where our younger generation has no interest in science. Can you imagine a future without scientists?"
After watching these two companies tussle in the ScreenBurn at SXSW Arcade ring, it becomes clear that while they have entirely different game plans, they're intent is the same: to educate the masses. Only ScreenBurn at SXSW can bring incredibly diverse companies like Heatwave Interactive and Twist Education into one room and bring the fight for their ideas to the industry at large!