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DigiPen students showed out in full force for the 13th annual Rookie Awards, a prestigious global competition for aspiring young creatives working in digital media. DigiPen game and film projects, as well as individual students, received honors and awards in a range of categories in the 2023 competition, going up against a crowded field of 5,517 entries, representing 521 schools from 106 countries. Their amazing work catapulted DigiPen into five separate categories of the Rookies Global School Rankings for 2023, including the No. 2 school for Production Excellence – Console Games.

Rookies Global School Rankings

The talent DigiPen students displayed at the Rookies earned the school institution-wide honors and landed it among the Top 50 Creative Schools.

  • Ranked second for Production Excellence - Console Games
  • Ranked tenth for Concept Art & Illustration
  • Ranked eleventh for Game Design & Development
  • Ranked fifteenth for Production Excellence - 2D Animations


Hailing from DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, the team responsible for Conej Steps Out, a story featuring a determined and quirky character going the extra mile to impress a date, received both an Excellence Award and a finalist role in the 2D Animation category.

Moreover, two teams representing DigiPen’s campus in Redmond received well-deserved recognitions in the competition. The film team Pipeline Pilots was honored with both an Excellence Award and the People’s Choice Award in the Film of the Year – 2D Animation category for their short film, The Little Rat. This film, developed during their junior and senior years, narrates the story of Minuet, a mouse who discovers that her petite size is an advantage after being bullied by a group of rats. Additionally, the student team Reel Cool’s humorous zombie-themed production, Heads Up, earned a Draft Selection in the Film of the Year – 2D Animation category.


Five DigiPen student development teams left a strong impression on this year’s judges with their innovative action and adventure games. DigiPen Europe-Bilbao’s Han’yo, a samurai side-scroller with a Japanese ink-inspired aesthetic, received a Highly Commended honor and was designated as a finalist in the Game of the Year – Console/PC category. Additionally from DigiPen Europe-Bilbao, the arctic-themed Anyu and the rhythmic brawler Cat-aclysm each earned an Excellence Award and secured a finalist spot in the Game of the Year – Console/PC category.

Games from DigiPen’s campus in Redmond also garnered recognition in the same category, with floral 3D action game Green Reaper earning a finalist designation, and the shopping spree party game Grocery Gauntlet receiving a Draft Selection.

Student Art:

Digital art students from DigiPen’s campus in Redmond achieved notable success in the competition. Jessica Chen, an MFA in Digital Arts student, received an Editor’s Choice designation and won Mighty Kingdom’s Career Opportunity contest. BFA student Nitis Borirakpanich also landed a finalist designation in realworld one’s Career Opportunity contest. Juthapat Limpattanakul received an Excellence Award, an Editor’s Choice award, and a finalist spot for 3D environment art in the Rookie of the Year – Game Development category, while Ethan Yant earned an Excellence Award for his 3D environment art.

Congratulations to each of this year’s award winners and honorees!


Conej Steps Out(DigiPen Europe-Bilbao)

  • Finalist – Film of the Year, 2D Animation
  • Excellence Award

The Little Rat

  • Film of the Year – People’s Choice
  • Finalist – Film of the Year, 2D Animation
  • Excellence Award

Heads Up

  • Draft Selection – Film of the Year, 2D Animation


Anyu (DigiPen Europe-Bilbao)

  • Finalist – Game of the Year, Console/PC
  • Excellence Award

Cat-aclysm (DigiPen Europe-Bilbao)

  • Finalist – Game of the Year, Console/PC
  • Excellence Award

Han’yo (DigiPen Europe-Bilbao)

  • Finalist (Highly Commended) – Game of the Year, Console/PC

Green Reaper

  • Finalist – Game of the Year, Console/PC

Grocery Gauntlet

  • Draft Selection – Game of the Year, Console/PC


Jessica Chen

  • Winner – Career Opportunities, Mighty Kingdom
  • Finalist – Career Opportunities, PlaySide Studios
  • Editor’s Choice

Nitis Borirakpanich

  • Finalist – Career Opportunities, realworld one

Juthapat Limpattanakul

  • Finalist – Rookie of the Year, Game Development
  • Excellence Award
  • Editor’s Choice

Ethan Yant

  • Excellence Award – 3D Environment Art