Link to images here
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the four winners of this year’s BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) Awards, which took place as a special digital ceremony hosted by presenter and journalist Elle Osili-Wood.
BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative for 10-18 year olds that includes public events, workshops and a competition that culminates in a BAFTA ceremony that celebrates the achievements of the finalists and winners.
51 finalists were competing for four awards over two age groups: YGD Game Concept, celebrating the best original game idea, and YGD Game Making, rewarding the coding skills used to create a prototype game using readily available software.
The 2021 BAFTA YGD winners are:
- Habiballah Butt, Rewind - Game Concept Award (10-14 years category)
- Harry Rimmer, Wish You Were Here - Game Concept Award (15-18 years category)
- Andrew Ah-Weng, Getting Out Of It - Game Making Award (10-14 years category)
- Sara Szasz, Thoughtless - Game Making Award (15-18 years category)
The winning entries were selected after extensive deliberation by virtual juries chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Claire Boissiere, and Des Gayle. They were chosen for their gameplay design and suitability for the chosen games platform, as well as their creativity and vision.
In addition to the prestigious BAFTA YGD Award, winners will be given the opportunity to build on their games ideas through a robust mentorship scheme, as well as an insight into a career in games, and unique access to the industry as a whole. As well as support for further development of their game, winners also receive a host of prizes, including workshops, masterclasses, networking opportunities, games, merchandise, and much more.
Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “For over a decade, the BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) initiative has inspired, supported and promoted the future generation of games creators in the UK. We are pleased to announce this year’s winning entries that encompass an array of ambitious young game innovators, demonstrating a breadth of multi-disciplinary skills. After an incredibly challenging year for education, we are delighted to see the return of the Mentor Award category that recognises individuals responsible for harnessing young talent. My congratulations to all!”
Tonight’s BAFTA YGD awards ceremony took the format of a pre-produced digital show, streamed as-live on BAFTA’s YouTube channel. The ceremony was hosted by Elle Osili-Wood, with other notable industry figures such as Aoife Wilson, Frankie Ward and Julia Hardy congratulating this year’s deserving winners, as well as guest appearances from Cherami Leigh, Laura Bailey, Logan Cunningham and Carla Tassarara.
The ceremony focused on the important role games have played during lockdown in entertaining, connecting and supporting young people. It highlighted the ways in which people have turned to video games for social interaction and communication with friends, enriching young people’s lives for the better. BAFTA YGD finalists were featured alongside finalists from BAFTA’s Young Presenter competition talking about their experiences. Clips from the ceremony are available here.
The ceremony also featured the winners from the Mentor Award category that returned this year, recognising inspirational individuals involved in championing the education of young game creators in the UK. Former BAFTA YGD finalist Harry Petch and teacher Richard Harris were commended as this year’s winning candidates for their outstanding contribution to mentoring aspiring young game designers and offering supportive and accessible career pathways into the industry. The virtual jury for this category was chaired by Nick Button-Brown and featured prominent British games industry experts and enthusiasts, including Julia Hardy and Melissa Phillips.
Official Partners of BAFTA YGD include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, King, Playstation, Tencent Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Games and Wizards of the Coast. Further information about BAFTA YGD can be found here.
BAFTA YGD winners in 2021 - further information:
Game Concept Award (10-14) - REWIND - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Habiballah Butt (13) - headshot here
Platform: Mobile & Tablet, Desktop, Console
This game is to help people to understand what grief feels like and the stages of how it works, so they are more prepared to help somebody who is going through this and to understand how they feel.
The game is set in a small 3D space, with an updated N64 look. You control the player, a smooth, small character in order to traverse the level and complete certain tasks before they expire in order to move on to the next level. However, every level is in the same space, but tweaked to represent the five stages of grief. The game is very cryptic throughout about what the player is trying to achieve, until eventually at the end of the game, we find out the player's father has passed, and this was all a coping mechanism to deal with his fathers passing. Now that the player knows what is going on, the tasks and level objectives that made no sense at first suddenly show their true meaning.
Game Concept Award (15-18) - WISH YOU WERE HERE - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Harry Rimmer (15) - headshot here
Platform: Mobile & Tablet, Desktop
You play as a detective who uses a series of postcards to time travel, gathering clues in the future and past, then using them to solve cases in the present.
The game is a mystery / puzzle game, where you solve various cases using time travel. However, this time travel is limited to one day in each of the four seasons, meaning that you can't simply travel to the day the crime happened to figure out what happened. Instead, you will need to travel to various points before and after the crime in order to gather evidence, interview people, and hopefully piece together the clues you find so that you can solve the case.
Game Making Award (10-14) - GETTING OUT OF IT - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Andrew Ah-Weng (14) - headshot here
Software: Gamemaker Studio 2
A short platformer where you only have a jetpack and a rope swing.
In this game, you use a jetpack and a rope swing to traverse a small underground world, in order to "get out of it". The objective is to flick two levers hidden by two different platforming challenges, then two return to the door and win. The time taken to complete the game as well as number of deaths are displayed on the win screen, in order to incentivise speedruns or deathless runs. I think that the real depth of the game is comboing both mechanics in order to maximise speed, such as using the rope swing to build momentum while flying above the ground with the jetpack to conserve the momentum. Speed in this game is built very quickly as you gain a small speed boost when you leave a swing, but it gets hard to control very quickly as you need good reaction times to avoid spikes and obstacles!
Game Making Award (15-18) - THOUGHTLESS - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Sara Szasz (18) - headshot here
A first person adventure game where you take the role of a detective in search of their lost uncle in his manor that's more fiction than reality.
You encounter the staff of the manor and help them with their troubles to progress to new rooms and come closer to solving the mystery of what's really happening. As you progress you uncover the truth of the manor, that it's not real, well- more accurately, it's a dream, a safe haven someone created to escape from life. Each of the staff members represents a part of their personality in some way or other. Ink, the most important of them all, has been locked away and upon being set free by the player, sends the manor spiraling into chaos. Things start glitching, the dream world is merging with real life and all the characters have been consumed by their worst fears. It's up to the player to get to the final room and try to convince the dreamer to free them all by waking up.
BAFTA Mentor Award winners in 2021 - further information:
Richard Harris - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Richard is Head of Design at Raynes Park High School and believes that as a teacher, it is his role to make learning fun. Initiating illustration workshops for the students, Richard was able to demonstrate how characters are designed for games and uploaded using various online tools and in person techniques to engage his students. Richard led a vast range of STEM clubs and introduced game design into the main curriculum, where he curated a retro Gameboy exhibition to demonstrate that simple games can make a significant impact and, in turn, empowered his students to create a diverse selection of games. Richard has established connections with businesses such as Apple and the National Video Game Museum creating opportunities for learning and future work placements.
Harry Petch - VISUAL ASSETS HERE
Harry is currently studying at Abertay University completing his first year Game Design and Production BA Hon. Harry has twice been a finalist for the BAFTA Young Games Designer competition in the Games Making category in 2016 and 2019. Whilst in Sixth Form at Oakwood Park Grammar School, Harry set up two games development clubs for Years 7-8 and Years 9-11, creating a safe space for games designing, proving successful with a total of eight students becoming finalists for Games Making and Concept awards through BAFTA YGD. Constantly working on his craft, Harry communicates regularly with previous YGD finalists via Discord to share learnings and teachings to help improve his practice and sessions within the school.
BAFTA YGD Ceremony clips HERE
BAFTA YGD images are available at BAFTA Thirdlight HERE
Winners’ information HERE
Finalists’ headshots + quotes HERE
Games’ summaries + images HERE
Footage available for press:
The full programme will be made available and can be taken as off-air from approx. 18:30BST, following completion of the full broadcast online. Alternatively, please contact WDW Entertainment for clips.
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 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 advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit www.bafta.org/guru. For more, visit www.bafta.org.
About BAFTA YGD:
BAFTA curates a year-round global programme of events and initiatives that support the games industry. This includes developer talks, showcases, debates, scholarships and networking, as well as the flagship Games Lecture by an inspirational practitioner. BAFTA Young Game Designers gives young people and educators insights into the industry and access to the brightest creative minds in games; BAFTA Crew Games is a network that connects practitioners working in the UK games industry and provides participants with a skills development programmes; BAFTA Scholarships, which enable talented individuals to study a postgraduate course in games; and BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, which supports emerging stars of the games industry.
Previous winners include revered game developer, Dan Pearce, winner of the first ever BAFTA YGD competition in 2010. Dan has since gone on to receive a BAFTA Games Award Debut Game nomination in 2014 for his game, Castles in the Sky. Emily Mitchell was a 2017 winner for her debut game Fractured Minds, and has subsequently released the game commercially, winning last year’s prestigious MCV / DEVELOP Award. Similarly, Spruce Campbell (2017 winner) has self-published his game on the App Store. Previous winners have also showcased their creations at EGX Rezzed, London’s largest games event, including 2016 winner Daniel Smith whose game was picked up by Ripstone Games.
About Elle Osili-Wood:
Elle Osili-Wood is one of the most recognisable faces in games and a member of BAFTA’s Games Committee. A video games presenter and journalist, Elle has been named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of the most influential women in gaming. Having started her career as a political reporter for the BBC, Elle quickly gravitated towards her lifelong passion for games. Whether interviewing game designers, investigating the science of games for BBC Sounds or presenting from E3 for PlayStation, Elle is a passionate advocate for the industry and the talent it represents.