The Healthcare Games Showdown™ involved college students creating games and simulations for healthcare.

By KarI Y. Snyder, MFA


While teaching at the University of Houston, I noticed that Houston region technology and media students lacked paid internship opportunities to grow their skills under professional mentorship. I created and produced the Healthcare Games Showdown training event to help solve this problem. 


- Instructional Designer
- Showdown Creator
- Executive Producer (business development & fundraising)
- Creative Director (all graphics and promotional work)
- Director (live stream and event)
- Lead Editor
- Writer


- 2 Co-Hosts
- 3 Co-Producers
- 2 Media Team Students
- 10 Software  Students on three teams
- 33 Professional Mentors
- 26 Professional Advisors


- Fundraising and Pre-Production: 8 months
- Production: 4 weeks
- Post-Production: 6 months


- Monday
- Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Audition, After Effects, XD)
- Unity
- 8th Wall (AR)
- HTML, CSS, and React
- MS Office


I sought to develop a rigorous serious video game training experience that brought together teams of college students from various colleges to create healthcare video game projects under the direction of professional mentors and healthcare providers. I reached out to sponsors so that the students were provided paid work even as they learned new skills.

Hosted by the Texas Medical Center’s TMC Innovation Institute, the Healthcare Games Showdown™ was an Accelerator meets Game Jam in which medical and healthcare games or gamification concepts are created by college students under the direction of medical and video game mentors.


July 1st - July 6th, 2019


4 Weeks, 3 hours per Day


SErious-use video game development


Broadcast Show and Documentary


Texas Medical Center Accelerator,
Houston TX


Paid STudent INternship


I created the showdown with the idea that a live-stream broadcast would allow employers to watch the students work as well as for other students around the world to be inspired and learn new skills as well. Each week of the showdown the live-stream episode featured a specific job. Students were interviewed regarding how they were conducting their work; professional mentors shared tips, and special guests offered fresh insights.



Episode THEME:

Project Managers

Special Guest:

Phillip Morales

Orb interactive


Episode THEME:

3D Art/Animation

Special Guest:

Texas Children's

Hospital Team


Episode THEME:


Special Guest:

Bill Stiernberg

Zeboyd Games



ProtoType reveal

Awards Ceremony


+ Gaming event


I raised $96,000 in sponsorship with Texas Children's Hospital as presenting sponsor and AT&T and Mount Sinai Hospital as a team sponsors. The Texas Medical Accelerator in the Houston Texas Medical Center offered the filming location for the event. Hardware sponsor, Hyper X provided student prizes and Assembla offered free software management software. Other industry organizations provided more marketing support for the showdown and opportunities for the students.


Twenty-eight students signed up for the event with ten (10) students making the final selection based on a round of job interviews coupled with an on-camera test. Selected students were from the University of Houston, Texas A&M, The Art Institute of Houston, Lone Star College, and the University of Dallas. Three teams produced healthcare video game projects while the media team documented their work. I secured thirty-seven (33) professional mentors from both the video game industry and the healthcare field. All of them graciously volunteered their time to rate the skills and work of each student each week based on customized rubric I developed. An additional twenty-six professionals were selected as an advisor group to review student applications and provide sponsor outreach connections.

Augmented Reality (AR) hospital at-home care mobile app

Virutal Reality (VR) physical rehab mobile game app

Online, in-browser mental health game

In order to best assess performance gaps and demonstrate successful skill growth, each week students were evaluated by professional mentors and rated 1-10 on job specific skills in the categories of Project Management, Programming, 3D Art & Design and UI/UX. I created the grading rubrics after interviewing 20 different professionals in each field. Each rubric was also reviewed and approved by the board of advisors prior to the showdown.

Outside of being evaluated each week, students could win special recognition badges for soft skill merits such as kindly assisting another student, helping clean up without being asked, and putting in extra time in study.


Over 400 people came out in-person to the finale with over 225 actively participating in the live-stream

Three (3) showdown graduates were offered job interviews at the finale

At the end of the four week internship, all three teams presented their final video game projects to see who would win the top prize. An in-person awards show included various business professionals, a United States congressman, and various healthcare professionals. Houston Public Media co-broadcast the live stream regionally. The finale event was well received with over 2,000 views and a robust live audience of over 400. Winners were announced for Top Project Manager, Top UI/UX, Top 3D Artist,  Top Programmer and Top Video Game Project. Most importantly, three students were offered job opportunities.

"The Greater Houston Partnership strives to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. We fully support the mission of the Healthcare Games Showdown and are working with the showdown’s Executive Producer, Kari Snyder, on connections that can benefit the event and team sponsors."

Jenny Tieu, Senior Project manager, Greater Houston Partnership

"Video games are a wonderful way to engage with patients and their families. Our hope for the future of serious games in healthcare is that we can integrate them into the daily care of our patients and have our outcomes be optimal."

Dr. Susan Blaney, Director TExas Children's Hospital Cancer & Hematology Centers
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