London, 18 November: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the three nominated teams in the 2011 BAFTA Young Game Designers competition, which was launched in June with the aim of discovering another group of promising, young video game designers. This is the second year of the competition.
BAFTA Young Game Designers in association with Electronic Arts is an initiative which encourages young people to consider a career in video games. By engaging with the widest possible audience, BAFTA aims to demystify the creative process of games development and highlight how key qualifications in areas such as maths, physics and computer science are essential for those wishing to enter the industry. Building on last year’s success more teams of three 11-16 year olds entered the competition, and over half were engaged through their school. The entries reflect the great reach and diversity of the initiative, with submissions from as far north as Grampian in Scotland, from Devon in the south of England, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, and Suffolk in the east.
The final Super Jury was chaired by BAFTA Children’s Committee member Jonathan Smith of TT Games, who was joined by celebrity ambassador Tyger Drew-Honey (Outnumbered, Friday Download) and a host of industry experts including Jackie McKenzie of NESTA and Craig Sullivan of EA’s Criterion Games.
The jurors debated and evaluated a shortlist of 10 competition entries against the criteria of game-play, creativity and suitability for the chosen platform. After much deliberation, three teams were selected: Chamelion Arch, from Somerset, with their game Gah-Den Quest; Nose Dive Studios, from London, with Rollin' Scotch; and Defying Gravity, from Surrey, with Skislands.
The three nominated teams will attend the annual, star-studded British Academy Children’s Awards, this year taking place on Sunday 27 November at the London Hilton on Park Lane, where Tyger Drew-Honey will present one of the teams with the BAFTA Young Game Designers Award.
Entries were submitted by Monday 24 October and a shortlist of 10 entries was compiled by juries that included last year’s winners Dan Pearce and Sam Taylor, who were presented with a BAFTA Young Game Designers Award for their game Hamster: Accidental World Domination. The shortlist included entries from all-female, all-male and mixed-gender teams from across the 11-16 age range. This year sees 12 year-olds Adam Oliver and Neil Thomas from Warwickshire make it into the top 10 for the second year running – this time with teammate Gurdev Singh – with their entry, Think Alien.
Celebrity Ambassador Tyger Drew-Honey, aged 15, said: "It's obvious that there's actually so much talent amongst 11-16 year olds out there for which people don't always give them credit."
Super Jury chair Jonathan Smith said: “This year the top three nominations for the award exhibited a fantastic variety, each showing different things that a game can be."
BAFTA is partnering with Electronic Arts, NESTA and Abertay University to deliver this unique competition with the winning team receiving a prize package that includes a valuable work experience stint at EA’s Criterion Games studio. The winning team will also receive a prototype of their winning game developed with Abertay University and will retain all rights to their game.
The Nominated Teams
“The Evil birds of Gah-Den have stolen your delicious fruit and only Wally worm can defeat them, but do you really have what it takes to guide Wally to victory?”
Team name: Chamelion Arch
Molly Proud (Age 15)
Fred Gosling (Age 15)
Laurie Griffiths (Age 15)
Team Chamelion Arch from Somerset designed their game for multiple platforms including PC, tablet/smartphone and Nintendo DS. Gah-Den Quest involves growing vegetables to help players defeat hostile bugs and progress through the four levels in each of the four stages.
The jury’s comments were: “Nice character design and background story; credible mechanics, great artwork, and a really neat original ‘seed-sowing’ game mechanic.”
“Welcome to the Wild West. Just keep on rollin' through.”
Team name: Nose Dive Studios
Noah Shepherd (Age 15)
Louis Scantlebury (Age 15)
Nathaniel Weisberg (Age 15)
Team Nose Dive Studios from London designed their game Rollin’ Scotch for multiple Apple platforms including the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The object of this game is to roll a roll of tape to the end of the level combating enemies and manoeuvring tough terrain along the way.
The jury’s comments were: “A highly original and fun concept, well focused and delivered with verve.”
“Everything in the universe is governed by a set of rules of Physics; but sometimes, rules are meant to be broken.”
Team name: Defying Gravity
Matthew Langford (Age 16)
Joe Hanaphy (Age 16)
Rachel Langford (Age 14)
Team Defying Gravity from Surrey designed their game Skisland for the PC. The story follows characters floating between islands in the sky trying to reach stranded scientists who will lead them to safety.
The jury’s comments were: “An excellent level of clarity and detail; well thought out and convincing.”
To view the final nominees and shortlisted entries, and for more information on the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition, please visit www.bafta.org/ygd.
Media attendance is welcome and journalists interested in attending the British Academy Children’s Awards should contact Romley Davies for accreditation and a detailed schedule of the event.
For further information, please contact:
Print & Broadcast:
Tel: 0207 148 3748
Tel: 0207 148 3756
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. For further information, visit www.bafta.org.
About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a leading global interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, wireless devices, and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS™, EA™, EA Mobile™, and POGO™. In fiscal 2010, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.7 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million units. EA's homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at www.ea.com/uk/press
NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the country’s major economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer. NESTA is a world leader in its field and carries out its work through a blend of experimental programmes, analytical research and investment in early-stage companies. www.nesta.org.uk
About Abertay University
Abertay University's Institute of Arts, Media and Computer Games is the UK centre of excellence for computer games education. The Institute's taught portfolio includes highlights such as four of the UK's ten Skillset accredited programmes including a Masters in Professional Practice in Games Development with forty publicly funded places. All courses reflect the high level of industry involvement Abertay University's activities, underpinned by academic rigour. The Institute is also the home to Dare to be Digital, the international talent competition that provides the exclusive pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award which this year attracted entries from students from over eighty universities world-wide. Abertay University also has a portfolio of innovative interdisciplinary research associated with the visualisation of complex data using games technology. This work spans the whole University and also includes disciplines within Arts, Media and Computer Games. The Institute's business support project provides grants to small games developers for prototype games projects and is run by a team recruited from industry. www.abertay.ac.uk/studying/schools/amg/