Last week, jury members and colleagues from Montreal, Saguenay and Quebec City analyzed and evaluated the prototypes of the 21 teams participating in the Game Lab Competition. This year’s theme “Apart // Together” reflects the new Covidian reality. Here’s a brief review in pictures and words of what they had fun discovering for the first time.

Marie-Ève Danis presides over the jury composed of Bio Jade Adam Granger, Klarissa Armada, Alexandre Audette-Guénier, Laurent Chouinard, Vanessa Fillion-Tremblay, Francis Gagnon and Daniel Lucchesi. We went to the source, asking jury members directly for their impressions of the 2021 crop. They were full of praise for this beautiful, 100% virtual cohort. Here’s what they had to say:

Jury President Marie-Ève Danis told us, “We laughed, we had fun, it was a great week full of surprises! Many of the gameplays were original and some games would have deserved – with development support, of course – to be in early access on Steam. There were a couple of times I had to force myself to stop playing so I could continue evaluating and give the same time to each prototype. I’d like to tell them that regardless of the outcome at the gala, we were amazed with the work they did and their games gave us some great moments.”

Equally impressed was Daniel Lucchesi. “It’s really inspiring to see such small teams covering all spheres of development to build a complete game. And they figured out what works: games with an easy-to-grasp, high adventure gameplay loop!”

And Alexandre Audette-Génier was in awe by the way the teams worked with the constraints in the mandate. “The teams made good use of the theme, implementing mechanisms that allowed clear communication between players, whether they were together or apart.” Klarissa Armada added, “For most of the games, they had to work as a team to progress. Many prototypes required player 1 to perform one task while player 2 performed another. This made for a rich and complete game experience.”

Vanessa Fillion-Tremblay and Laurent Chouinard are optimistic about the future. “The prototypes presented really reflect market trends. The theme led to online cooperation, which falls right in line with current hits like Among Us or Agar.io,” commented Vanessa. Laurent continued, “What we’ve seen in evaluating these prototypes is that there’s a whole new generation on the horizon. Not only did we see some creative and innovative proposals, but also some really high-quality games. I’m not worried about our industry, it’s in good hands.”

This bodes well for the grand unveiling of the winners at the gala April 29. Thanks again to our panel of experts, including Bio Jade Adam-Granger and Francis Gagnon. And thank you for your time, dedication and professionalism in analyzing and evaluating the games. All this work is invaluable to our young video game enthusiasts.

Stay tuned because if you couldn’t try out the prototypes during jury presentation like every year, we will be putting together a small game session for you to test the winning games after the gala.