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Level up with Bandit Game Studio

Joel Molina
Competitors pose for a photo as they program a game on their computer.

A UTEP student organization is bridging the gap between hobbies and professional careers in game development by providing the knowledge and skills necessary to learn anything from game engineering to creative design.  

On April 12-14 Bandit Game Studio hosted their second annual Borderland Glitch Game Jam at UTEP’s Undergraduate Learning Center (UGLC). The three-day event challenged the public to team up to create a game based on a reimagined 80’s movie title.  

The event featured workshops on mental health and gaming, as well as talks by guest speakers Thomas Winkley and Xalavier Nelson Jr. who gave participants insight into the industry of game development. The studio also provided free food, merchandise and prizes to the top three winners of the competition.  

Borderland Glitch began in 2023 with the hope of garnering attention from other game studios and companies while also giving students the opportunity to build their portfolios. Last year’s Game Jam hosted only 49 participants, and this year over 120 people registered for the event.  

Former president of Bandit Game Studio, George Molina, says he has seen substantial growth in the community of game development enthusiasts, and he hopes to bring more opportunities to El Paso with the help of events like Borderland Glitch.  

“We’re trying to bring the industry to El Paso,” Molina said. “The love of game development is here, it’s just a question of do people think it’s feasible.” 

Samantha Camacho, Director of Marketing and Member Relations Specialist for Bandit Game Studio believes organizations and events like these open doors for those interested in game development. 

“There’s a huge love for video games here, there’s just not as many opportunities as there should be,” Camacho said. “Bandit and the Game Jam are really important for that and are a big opportunity and steppingstone for game development in El Paso.” 

For students like Kristen Kazhe and Gavin Patino, Bandit and the Borderland Glitch generate a sense of community and allow them to enhance their skills while in a fun and unique environment. 

“I really like showing off what a good team is capable of doing,” Patino said. “I like proving myself and experiencing that with a group of people.”  

Kazhe decided to participate in this event because she wanted to enhance her coding and electrical engineering skills.  

“I decided to participate because I wanted to get more into the coding side of things,” Kazhe said. “In a way I was trying to learn while not only having fun, but coding is a big part of my degree for electrical engineering, so I wanted to develop my skills.” 

What started as a student-oriented organization has evolved into a city-wide initiative. In addition to hosting events like Borderland Glitch, Bandit conducts community outreach throughout El Paso.  

“We go to schools and try to talk to students, we’ve even done weeklong workshops with K-12 teachers on how to integrate game development into their curriculum,” Molina said.   

Along with increasing knowledge about the many areas of game development, Bandit is breaking boundaries within the educational realm. UTEP offers access to high-quality software and education not typically available for free at other universities. 

“We shouldn’t be gatekeeping education,” Molina said. “We should be giving people the tools that they need to succeed.” 

Those interested in learning more about Bandit Game Studio can contact them through Mine Tracker or on Instagram @banditgamestudio. 

Alyda Muela is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]; on Instagram.

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About the Contributors
Alyda Muela
Alyda Muela, Contributor/Writer
Alyda Muela is a sophomore at The University of Texas at El Paso. She is a contributor at The Prospector. She is a multimedia journalism major with a minor in general business. After graduation she hopes to travel the world to continue to pursue a career in journalism.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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