- Winners were announced by actor and comedian Inel Tomlinson at a digital ceremony
- The ceremony is available to watch in full on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel
- Winning games will be displayed as part of the Science Museum’s Power Up experience in London and Manchester
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London (22 June 2023) - BAFTA has today announced the four talented winners of this year’s Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, via a special digital ceremony hosted by actor, comedian and presenter Inel Tomlinson for the second year running.
The 45 finalists were competing for one of two awards - the Game Concept Award which rewards the most unique and creative game ideas, and the Game Making Award for the most technically impressive coding skills. Each of these awards is split into two age categories (10-14 and 15-18).
The Game Concept Award (10-14) was won by Max Whistlecraft (14) from Todmorden, for his game concept ‘POLARITY’. ‘POLARITY’ is a science-themed game, in which players fight the ‘Bosses’, with the ability to switch between polarities like those of a magnet. Max decided to enter this year’s competition after hearing a talk about YGD at the Science and Media Museum, and wants to go into a career in game design in the future.
The Game Concept Award (15-18) was won by Ava Rogerson (17) from Amersham, for whom 2023 was her second consecutive year as a YGD finalist. Her winning game concept, ‘Bounce Bat’, is a 2D platformer game in which players play as a flightless bat fighting to make its way home. Ava’s game is suitable for those who enjoy a more casual game as well as those who want to challenge their reflexes and abilities.
The Game Making Award (10-14) was won by Alex Phillips (13) from Bristol, for his game ‘serialbus’ - a puzzle-solving game that follows a character trapped inside a computer who must explore the circuitry of the machine to find their way out. Alex was a YGD finalist two years ago, but this year learnt to fix a number of bugs that he had not previously encountered.
The Game Making Award (15-18) was won by Arlo Freer (15) from Herriard. Arlo’s winning game, ‘Bird in the Woods’ is an archery-themed game in which players must manoeuvre their way through a range of puzzles, using as few shots as possible from their magic bow. Arlo used YouTube to teach himself coding, and drew inspiration from his home in the Hampshire countryside for the woodland setting of his game.
The BAFTA YGD ceremony was streamed on BAFTA’s Kids and Teens YouTube channel, with highlights and clips available to watch on Twitter (@BAFTAGames) and LinkedIn. Official Partners of BAFTA YGD include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Epic Games, PlayStation, Warner Bros Games, Wizards of the Coast.
YGD ceremony host Inel Tomlinson said: "A massive congratulations to the winners of BAFTA’s 2023 Young Game Designers competition! The quality of entries this year has been so strong, with 45 brilliant finalists from across the UK exploring the craft of game design across four unique categories. Two of this year’s winners are prior finalists who have continued to hone their gaming skills in their spare time, and we hope that will give confidence to anyone thinking of applying in the future!”
The four winners were selected from a pool of 45 exceptionally skilled finalists, by a jury of industry experts from some of the most well-known gaming companies in the UK. The juries were chaired by Nick Button-Brown (Founder, The Games Angels), Tara Saunders (Studio Head, PlayStation London Studio), Des Gayle (Founder, Altered Gene) and Catherine Woolley (Senior Designer, Media Molecule).
Game Making Award juror and Creative Director at Tencent Games, David Valjalo said: "Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed first-hand the power of combining creative thinking with emerging technologies, and greatly admire those who think strategically about which mechanic will work the best for their concept. My job involves helping some of the biggest games in the world reach new heights and audiences, but none of it is possible without the sort of talent that BAFTA works so hard to foster as the future of our industry. Finalists selected for BAFTA YGD have built some impressively intuitive games, and I look forward to supporting them in their journey here."
BAFTA CEO Jane Millichip said: “I am so impressed by the sheer talent of emerging game-creators, some of whom have never displayed their work in public. Our four winning games draw inspiration from the world around us; from the beauty of the British countryside and wildlife to computer circuitry and science. BAFTA Young Game Designers is committed to supporting the next generation of gaming talent, and it is a real privilege to offer them the chance to learn from leading industry experts. I look forward to seeing what’s to come from this year’s brilliant finalists and BAFTA recipients.”
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.
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Footage available for press
The full programme will be made available and can be taken as off-air from approx. 17:30 BST, following completion of the full broadcast online. Alternatively, please contact WDM Entertainment for clips.
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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.