- For over a decade, BAFTA has connected young people with experts from the gaming industry, as part of their Young Game Designers competition
- Today, the charity has announced 44 talented finalists aged between 10 and 18
- The winners ceremony will be streamed live on BAFTA Kids & Teens YouTube, Thursday 22 June at 17:00 BST, with comedian Inel Tomlinson hosting
- Winning games will be displayed at the Science Museum’s Power Up experience
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Today, BAFTA unveils 44 talented finalists, aged between 10 and 18, who have been selected as part of this year’s BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, which has been running since 2010.
BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events and workshops for 10-18 year-olds, culminating in the annual YGD ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners, which will be streamed digitally on BAFTA Kids & Teens YouTube. This year’s ceremony is taking place on Thursday 22 June, and will be hosted by multi-award nominated actor and comedian Inel Tomlinson. Highlights from the ceremony will be posted on LinkedIn.
According to trade body UKIE, the number of games companies in 2023 has grown over 31% in the UK since September 2016 (1). In 2021, Statista reported that 82% of children in the UK aged 12-15 played games online (2), mirroring this boom. Through initiatives like YGD, BAFTA aims to demonstrate that games can be more than just a hobby; BAFTA are committed to working with educators to support children who are interested in getting hands-on experience in the field, and to creating accessible pathways into games careers. Nearly half of YGD competition entrants this year heard about the scheme through school.
This year’s finalists have entered for one of two awards up for grabs: the YGD Game Concept Award, which rewards the most original and best thought-out game idea, and the YGD Game Making Award, which goes to the most impressive use of coding skills on a freely available software, to create a prototype game. Each award is split into two age groups: 10-14 years and 15-18 years.
Sophie Hudson (13) from Bath is a finalist in the 10-14 Game Concept Category, and decided to get involved because she wants to see more women represented in the industry. Her concept, titled The Screen is Completely Black, asks players to rely on spatial audio and haptic vibrations to escape a dark labyrinth housing a Minotaur. Accessibility is a key focus for Sophie, as she deliberately created a concept that is easy for blind and deaf players to enjoy.
Elsewhere, Tommy Bell (15) from Marlesford entered the Game Making 15-18 category with a casual fishing game, titled Gloop Fishing, in which players embody a little slime creature called Gloop, and are given the opportunity to catch 21 different types of fish. When asked if he recalled any specific difficulties during this project, Tommy mentioned surpassing the challenges of rope physics using Unity’s line renderer and Hooke’s law.
Finalists were selected on the basis of the creativity of their vision and the technicality of their execution. Winning entries will be judged on their design and suitability for their chosen platform, with the aim of encouraging participants into games careers, and making the industry more accessible to young talent.
Official Partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Epic Games, PlayStation, Warner Bros Games, Wizards of the Coast. Further details of the official partners can be found here.
The voting jury who selected this year’s finalists out of hundreds of entries represent major British-based gaming companies, including Rocksteady Studios (Batman: Arkham Asylum), Rare Ltd (Battletoads) and TT Games (LEGO® Star Wars™: The Skywalker Saga). Jurors also work at major international corporations such as PlayStation and Meta. YGD Alumni Joe Straker (Criterion Games) and Jonathan Ashton (Playtonic Ltd) are both sitting on this year’s jury.
2023 winners will be featured in the prestigious Power Up experience, alongside some of the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades, including an array of previous YGD winners. Power Up opens at the Science Museum in London on 27 July 2023, and is currently open at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.
For further information, to be added to the press release distribution list or for interview requests, please contact WDM Entertainment.
Francesca Duke / WDM Entertainment
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Claudia Hockey / WDM Entertainment
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Sandhya Kimberley-Lachman / WDM Entertainment
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BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit www.bafta.org. BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).
About BAFTA YGD
BAFTA organises events and initiatives around the world to promote the art and craft of games, while helping practitioners grow their network and industry profile; develop cross-sector skills; and establish sustainable careers. The programme includes developer talks, showcases and networking opportunities, both in person and virtually. A new tier of BAFTA membership for emerging talent, BAFTA Connect, is part of BAFTA's ongoing commitment to supporting future creative leaders in the games industry as an accessible, inclusive community that allows participants to achieve their full potential.
BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD), specifically targets the next generation of talent giving young people and educators insights into the industry and access to the brightest creative minds in games. Last year’s winners include Alfie Wilkinson (2022 Game Making 10-14), who launched his winning game Egglien commercially on Steam and received 100% thumbs up rate, and Jaime Williams (2022 Game Concept 15-18), who has been awarded a BAFTA Prince William Scholarship to contribute towards her BA in Games Design and Production at Abertay University. Alfie and Jaime also co-presented the award for Best Game Design at the 2023 BAFTA Games Awards. Previous finalists include Brendan Cheung, now working on his debut game for BAFTA nominated Ed Tech Company The NightZookeeper, and Joe Straker, Production Intern at Criterion Games and 2023 YGD Juror.
About The Science Museum Group and Power Up
The Science Museum Group is the world’s leading group of science museums, welcoming over five million visitors each year to five sites: the Science Museum in London; the National Railway Museum in York; the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester; the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford; and Locomotion in Shildon. Power Up is a hands-on, fully interactive gaming experience featuring the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades. From Pong to Pacman and Minecraft to Mario, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a retro games fan, a serious gamer or just want to beat your family at Mario Kart. After five successful seasons, Power Up is making a permanent return at the Science Museum. More information can be found www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk and https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/power-up. The Science Museum Group and BAFTA look forward to developing their relationship over the coming years.
About Inel Tomlinson
The multi-award nominated Inel Tomlinson exudes magnetic charm, charisma and talent that instantly demands your attention whether on TV, stage or in video game form. Coupled with an electric smile and the world's loudest laugh, it's hard not to fall for his exuberant personality, which radiates throughout his extensive body of work.
As a comedian, his attention-grabbing style always demands the audience's attention from the get-go. He skillfully guides us through his unique takes on the world, mixing beautifully delivered nostalgic musings with his eye for the ridiculous.
Inel is also a hugely gifted actor and improviser, with an extensive list of TV, animation and video game credits, including Horrible Histories on BBC, Love Island's Lloyd the Lovebird, and a plethora of video games from EA's Grid Legends to The Solitaire Conspiracy.
As a presenter and qualified teacher, Inel has also produced various drama and comedy workshops for young adults over the years inspiring many to find their voice within the arts. As well as hosting numerous panels for BAFTA's Children's activities and presenting shows for CBBC, Junior Vets on Call and All Over The Place, to name a few.
1. Dealessandri, Marie. <https://www.gamesindustry.biz/number-of-uk-games-companies-up-31-since-2016>, January 10, 2023.
2. Clement, J. <https://www.statista.com/statistics/274427/online-gaming-among-children-in-the-uk-by-age-group.>, July 1, 2022.