Bafta Press

Young BAFTA Nominees Compete to Win the Title of BAFTA Young Game Designers

BAFTA announces the three teams to have reached the final of the first BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition. Teams hail from Aberystwyth, Maidenhead and Swindon areas.

BAFTA Young Game Designers competition

London 18 November 2010: In July 2010, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) launched a new initiative highlighting the creative possibilities and career opportunities within the ever popular video games market via its very own BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.

Teams consisting of three young people aged 11-16 from the across the UK were invited to submit a design for a new video game. The aims of the competition were to promote creativity, help young people understand the different roles within video game design and highlight the key subject areas for entry into the industry.

With all entries submitted by the closing date of 18 October 2010, a group of industry specialists joined the Young Game Designers’ Celebrity Ambassador, Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis, to judge the best ten competition entries that had progressed through two previous rounds of judging. Jury head, General Manager of EA Bright Light and Deputy Chair of BAFTA’s Children’s Committee, Harvey Elliott, was joined by jurors including Johnny Minkley, video games journalist for BBC Radio 1 and Eurogamer, Sam Dickinson, Designer on the BAFTA Award-winning PSP game LittleBigPlanet, and Jonathan Smith, Head of Production at TT Games Publishing.

The jurors reviewed and debated the short list of ten competition entries and individually assessed and marked each entry against the criteria of Game-play, Innovation/Originality and Creativity. After much deliberation, three nominated teams were selected: Blazing Chickens and its game entitled Born Dreaming, Hexadecimal with the game i-Volution and Beached Whale Productions and the game HAMSTER: accidental world domination.

The three nominated teams will attend the annual, star-studded EA British Academy Children’s Awards, this year taking place on Sunday 28 November at the Hilton, Park Lane, London, where the winning team will be announced.

BAFTA is partnering with the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Abertay University and EA in order to deliver the competition.

The winning team will receive a truly unique prize package that includes a BAFTA Young Game Designers Award, work experience at EA games studio Bright Light (during which they will continue to develop their game’s concept) and the chance to develop a prototype of the winning game with Abertay University. All entrants, including the winning team, will retain the right to take their games to any studio in order to develop them commercially.

Commenting on the competition, jury chair Harvey Elliott says: “The quality in this first year has been very high. All of us have been incredibly impressed by the standard of the entries. The depth of thought that has gone into them is up there with the best in the industry.”

Jury member Jonathan Smith, Head of Production at TT Games Publishing, says: “It was a tough judging process, but three titles really stood out, where their teams had gone beyond anyone’s exceptions to deliver game designs that were creative, really fresh, and actually credible from a technical perspective of making a fun game that people would want to play – hugely impressive.”

Celebrity Ambassador Matthew Lewis says: “All the entries were unbelievable. Everyone has done a fantastic job. It’s a shame that we can only have one winner as I would like to see all three made into video games.”

Benedict Arora, Education Programme Director at NESTA and one of the competition judges, says: “This competition has shown the wealth of creative talent our young people have. The video games industry is one of the UK’s great examples of success driven by innovation and if we are to continue to be a world-beater in this industry, it is the young people of today who will drive its success in the future.”

The Nominated Teams

Born Dreaming: A game in which, just before you go to sleep, you need to find items to help you survive the dream world you are about to enter.

Team name: Blazing Chickens

  • Rae Elias (Age 16, Manager and Idea generator)
  • Josh Girardi (Age 15, Illustrator and Idea generator)
  • Aaron Lewis (Age 16, Co-illustrator and Idea generator)

Team Blazing Chickens live near Aberystwyth in Ceredigion, Wales. They designed their RPG game for the PS3. The jurors found the subject matter very original and were impressed not only with the artwork and design of the dream world, but also with the fact that players were able to store points when they were awake to help them fight during the night.

i-Volution: Play a robot in a hostile environment, which has to adapt to survive.

Team name: Hexadecimal

  • Matt Gilbert (Age 14, Writer, Designer)
  • Ben Brooks (Age 14, Level Editor, Designer)
  • James Weller (Age 14, GUI Designer, Designer)

Team Hexadecimal from Swindon, Wiltshire, designed their game i–Volution for the PC. The story follows a worker who suspects that his building is manufacturing something sinister and creates a robot to investigate. The jurors related to the very current storyline and absolutely loved the different character names in the game.

HAMSTER: accidental world domination: Players have to help the hamster hero rescue the princess from the villainous Sir Purs A lot.

Team name: Beached Whale Productions

  • Dan Pearce (Age 16, Game Director, Executive Gameplay Designer, Concept Artist, Senior Writer)
  • Sam Taylor (Age 16, Producer, Executive Artist)
  • James Cook (Age 13, Senior Gameplay Designer, Level Designer, Executive Writer)

Team Beached Whale Productions from Maidenhead, Berkshire, designed their game for the Nintendo DS. The judging panel found the characterisation and design of the game very funny and felt that this was a game people would want to play again and again.

For further information, please contact:

Print and Broadcast:
Mia A. Farrell / Laura Hopps
Tel: 020 3301 4735 / 020 3301 4732
Email: mia@romleydavies.com / laura@romleydavies.com

Online:
Claire Lewis
Tel: 020 3301 4732
Email: claire@romleydavies.com

About BAFTA

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 . For BAFTA Young Game Designers, visit www.bafta.org/ygd

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 SPORTSTM, EATM, EA MobileTM and POGOTM. 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/uk . More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at www.ea.com/uk/press . EA, EA SPORTS, EA Mobile and POGO are trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc.

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 three Skillset accredited programmes and a Masters in Professional Practice in Games Development with forty publicly funded places allocated for UK and EU students. 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 associated with games technology. This work spans the whole University and also includes disciplines within Arts, Media and Computer Games. The Institute’s new business support project providing grants to SMEs for prototype games development is run by a team recruited from industry and will draw on all of the successful facets of Abertay University’s activities described above.
www.abertay.ac.uk

About NESTA

NESTA is an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative to drive economic recovery and solve some of the UK’s major social challenges. Our endowment status means we operate at no cost to the UK taxpayer. NESTA is a world leader in its field and is in a unique position to support innovation through a blend of practical programmes, policy and research and investment in early-stage companies.
www.nesta.org.uk

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