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EAE Program Grads at U of U Release Net Neutrality Game

A group of University of Utah graduate students in the Entertainment Arts and Engineering program have released their first of four video games for Spring 2015. The game is called 404Sight.

It’s a running game created as a statement about protecting net neutrality. The complex issue centers on whether Internet Service Providers should be able to restrict users who are using competing ISP’s.   Graduate student Tina Kalinger is a producer in the student group which created the game.

“The game industry really depends on having equal internet access for everyone, not only small developer teams like us to access tools and advise and just everything that’s put out there,” says Kalinger.

Rachael Liker is an artist in the group. She says they took months developing the theme of the game.

“Then we landed on this idea of net neutrality because the fast and slow lane idea to us was very, very interesting and it was a very topical thing,” Liker says. “And actually it turned out to be pretty important to us as a team as well because we’re just students.”

Liker says feedback from the more than 75,000 downloads so far has been positive.

“The parts where you’re going really, really fast and then you hit this really awesome jump and you’re just kind of floating in midair doing flips and stuff and there’s all of these slow lanes shooting down around you and then you land,” says Liker, “and then you burst through to defeat the big ISP. That is such a golden moment. And it’s so…we like to say, ‘juicy.’”

Kalinger and Liker say they hope defending their graduate thesis’ next week will be a little easier based on the thousand of downloads in less than a week, but they are not sure that’s a factor. 404Sight is free to download on STEAM, an internet gaming platform.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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