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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Spencer Stuart/Spencer Striker

Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Student-produced Web site named a Webby Honoree

Awards known as the Internet's most respected symbol of success

April 23, 2008

EDITORS: A list of other students who are greatly involved in the project is at the end of the release. For media assistance in reaching these students, contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --, a popular video game review Web site created and run by students in Indiana University's Department of Telecommunications, has been selected as a Webby Awards Honoree, recognizing excellence in their use of the Internet.

Webby Award

IU graduate student Spencer Stuart -- known as Spencer Striker to many visitors to and elsewhere online -- created the site about 15 months ago and runs it with the assistance of about 30 other IU students. Thom Gillespie, director of IU's Masters in Immersive Mediated Environments (MIME) program, is the site's associate producer.

"I never dreamed that GameZombie would be a Webby winner, but it was always obvious that this project was wildly creative, almost as creative as Spencer himself. GameZombie is the first big thing Spencer has created. It will not be the last," Gillespie said.

Hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, the Webby Awards honor excellence on the Internet, including Web sites, interactive advertising, online film and video and mobile Web sites. The awards are judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization that includes David Bowie, Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, AKQA Global Creative Director Rei Inamoto, Jamie Oliver, Internet inventor Vinton Cerf, and RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser.

The 12th Annual Webby Awards received nearly 10,000 entries from more than 60 countries and all 50 states. Out of more than 10,000 entries submitted, fewer than 15 percent received this honor and were deemed Official Honorees.

"The Webby Awards signify outstanding achievement and are akin to the Oscars. Everyone associated with the movie industry would love to win an Oscar. For the Internet, Webby Awards carry the same cache," noted Walter Gantz, chairperson of the IU Department of Telecommunications.

Gillespie said the idea for came from his class. At first, Stuart was the only student to embrace the idea, but soon he was able to attract interest from his peers.

"I just assumed it would die on the vine, but I totally underestimated Spencer and his drive," Gillespie said. "Spencer has that totally unique talent to inspire by sharing an idea and allowing anyone involved to be involved and make a difference. A year later, Spencer has offered almost 40 internships to undergrads, experience far more worthwhile than going to New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco and preparing coffee for a professional media organization without the future of GameZombie."

Game Zombie

GameZombie is a student-built and student-run multimedia project in the IU Department of Telecommunications

Print-Quality Photo

GameZombie's producers describe their product as a "multimedia platform game video show with a narrative theme." It features video-based game reviews that employ the best possible lighting, motion graphics and stylish visual effects, as well as interviews with major figures from the game industry. It has covered events such as the Game Developer's Conferences in San Francisco and Austin and the World Series of Video Games in Louisville, Ky.

Soon, will encourage the submission of user-generated content from other game "survivors" across the Web. It is developing a zombie-bashing Flash CS3 game in which users can choose to play as any one of the characters in the story and soon will overhaul its "profiles page with edgy, flash-embedded video."

The site's 150 videos have had more than a million viewers from all over the world and also are available as channels on all of the top video hosting sites, including Daily Motion, You Tube, Revver, LiveVideo, Crackle, MySpace and Kewego. The students also have produced a podcast which is available through iTunes, and television shows that appear on campus and local cable.

Stuart, who serves as GameZombie's executive producer and creative director, is completing work in the MIME program, which brings content and creativity to digital and virtual platforms. The program teaches students how to apply ever changing New Media techniques to Internet development, computer games and virtual reality environments.

Game Zombie -- Isaac Day

Isaac Day (center) does video editing. Behind him are fellow students Ben McGill (left) and Robert Lyon.

Print-Quality Photo

"I've always been quite interested in New Media production," said Stuart, previously from Austin, Texas. The GameZombie project "combines the things that I'm most interested in . . . Essentially, it's a perfect storm of Web video, Internet TV and the emerging interactivitiy that we're seeing with it, as well as game analysis and game journalism.

"Our multimedia skill base in the telecommunications department is very strong and I think the equipment and that skill base allow us to be stronger than competing, big-budget sites," he added proudly. "There's a tremendous amount of enthusiasm in the telecom department. We have a core team of about 30 talented individuals, led by a management team of seven people, including a lead sound artist, producer and a director of business management who also is president of the Young Entrepreneurs Association at the Kelley School."

Some students working on the project have been able to get internship credit. This fall, other students will be able to enroll in a new advance production workshop centered around the site, which will provide them with further opportunities to apply what they've learned in telecommunications and computer science classes.

More information about the workshop is available online at:

Several students have been invited to attend the Webby Awards ceremony in New York in June, which "will be a wonderful networking opportunity with people in Web development companies that may be interested in," Stuart said.

Below are names and hometowns for several other students involved in

  • T.J. Babcock, senior game analyst, Bloomington
  • Chris Bates, lead sound design/composer, Indianapolis
  • Max Beatty, webmaster, Indianapolis
  • David Demeulenaere, senior web programmer, Mishawaka, Ind.
  • Troy Engelhardt, lead flash designer, Bloomington
  • Jessica Frasher, lead video editor/game analyst/VJ, Connersville, Ind.
  • Dmitrii Gabrielov, director of business management, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Gabe Goldstein, lead video editor/game analyst, Cincinnati
  • Leetal Halamish, lead motion graphics, Chicago
  • Jason Lataillade, lead video editor/game analyst, Bloomington
  • Tyler Mager, producer, Bloomington
  • Ben McGill, co-lead video editor, Indianapolis
  • Rory Starks, web graphics lead/game analyst, Indianapolis
  • Cornell Thomas, co-lead video editor, Indianapolis