Videogaming Tournament Held in Las Vegas

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. announced the winner of the Toyota Yaris Mobile Game Development Competition at the 2006 Evolution (EVO) World Finals videogame tournament in Las Vegas.

Ryan Dudley, a student at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, took home the $20,000 grand prize on behalf of this team for their mobile game called “Yaris Express.” Dudley, one of the game’s programmers, shares the winnings with his team Johnney Nguyen, programmer, and Andrion Becker, artist.

Toyota partnered exclusively with the DigiPen Institute of Technology, an accredited college focusing on videogame development and 3-D animation, to bring the competition to some of the most gifted and innovative students in the industry. DigiPen students were challenged to create a mobile phone game that incorporated the all-new Toyota Yaris subcompact vehicle and brought its features, versatility, affordability and style to life.

“We were very impressed by the students’ creativity and talent,” said Kim McCullough, Toyota marketing and communications corporate manager.

“The Toyota Yaris Mobile Game Development Competition dovetails well with our innovative customer outreach. We are very excited and confident that this fun-filled game will provide our customers with amusement while creating awareness for Yaris.” Games were judged by Toyota based on originality, entertainment value, integration of the Yaris and how well it holds players’ interest. Ten games were developed between April 21 and July 21.

“Yaris Express,” a driving game, integrated all the attributes the judges were seeking. Players navigate the Yaris through city streets while racing against the clock to pick-up and drop-off passengers. Along the way, players can receive help by collecting “Yaris characters” from the Yaris advertising campaign which either boosts scores or aids in dropping off passengers. “This program was a brilliant way to combine the design-for-all message of Yaris with the videogame industry’s next wave of talent and developers,” said Peter Kang, interactive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi LA. “We expected the students to innovate of course, but they really took Toyota’s ‘moving forward’ DNA to heart, bringing to life the features that make Yaris such a relevant and timely brand.”

Michael Wyrzykowski placed second with his creation “Capture A Yaris” and won $10,000. Thomas Johnson picked up the $5,000 third place prize for “Traffic Trouble,” created by Johnson and his partner Greg Raab. “Yaris Express” will be available for download at this fall.

The expert panel of judges included: Christopher Erhardt, game instructor, DigiPen Institute of Technology Michael Moore, game instructor, DigiPen Institute of Technology Masayo Arakawa, marketing and outreach coordinator, DigiPen Institute of Technology Wing Cho, game designer, Nintendo Software Technologies William Tian, game developer, Mobliss Glenn Elliot, producer, Mobliss Peter Kang, interactive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi LA Kelly Kliebe, art director, Saatchi & Saatchi LA Chris Yeo, account executive, Saatchi & Saatchi LA

The 2006 EVO World Finals is the last event for the EVO Championship Series: Powered by Yaris! a two-part series with competitors from all over the globe.

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