With everything going on in the world, thank heavens there have been video games to provide the perfect distraction.

And thanks to the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) video game development program, its students are continually conjuring up new virtual worlds for players to get lost in. The nationally ranked program will be demonstrating its newest student projects under development during its annual “EAE Play 2021” event, which will be held virtually due to the pandemic.

Screenshot from the student-produced video game, “Revenge of the Killer Octopus.”

The online event will be streamed live Friday, Dec. 10, from 3 to 7 p.m. on EAE’s Twitch channel at www.twitch.tv/universityofutah. More than 20 entertainment-based games will be presented along with several medical- and education-based games being produced by the GApp Lab, a collaboration between EAE, the U’s Center for Medical Innovation and the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library.

Some of the games that will be on display include:

PenguIndy 500 – Race your penguin friends across the Antarctic as you try to get your snowball to the goal first. Use the snow to roll a slower, bigger ball or run on ice to get it to shrink and move quickly.

Sword of Atlas – A tactical role-playing game with real-time action, frenetic combat, and strategic decisions, and a character-driven story where you will determine the fate of your party.

Toy Factory Horror – The story follows a lonely child seeking escape from a strange and dark place. Slipping between the past and present, players work their way through the crumbling remains of a toy factory filled with the remnants of its child workers.

All of Us VR – A GApp Lab game that is a fun way to learn how precision medicine can offer patients unique treatments based on their environment, genetic factors, and lifestyle. Players treat patients in a virtual clinic and collect data to help researchers develop new treatments.

E-Asthma Tracker – Another GApp Lab app, this is a tool that helps users track their asthma triggers and symptoms so they can better manage their asthma and reduce the chance of asthma-related events before they happen.

Click here to see a complete list of all the games and apps that will be demoed at “EAE Play 2021.”

Entertainment Arts & Engineering, which is under the U’s College of Engineering, launched in 2007 and has become one of the most highly regarded video game development programs in the nation. Last year, EAE was ranked the No. 1 public university in games worldwide, according to the The Princeton Review. The program was also No. 1 in the list of Top Public Game Design Schools and Colleges in the U.S. for 2021, according to the newest rankings from Animation Career Review.