Embargoed release: Friday 1 March, 00.01 am
Families should play computer games together, and more young girls need to be encouraged to make games, according to young BAFTA winners launching their first game today.
Sophia George, co-founder of Swallowtail Games, wants to inspire young women to follow her into the games industry by creating fun, accessible games that people of all ages can share.
Tick Tock Toys is a family-friendly puzzle game for iPhone and iPad that Sophia first started planning when Apple’s tablet computer was launched.
With her team she went on to win the University of Abertay Dundee’s Dare to be Digital game design contest in 2011, the BAFTA Ones to Watch award in 2012, and with support from the Abertay University Prototype Fund founded her company late last year.
The game is free to download from https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tick-tock-toys/id581681651?mt=8. The free version comes with 15 levels, with a further 120 available to buy in the game.
Sophia George said: “Computer games can be incredible shared experiences for people of all ages, and Tick Tock Toys is the first of hopefully many games we will release for children and parents to play together.
“The popular stereotypes of gamers just being young men couldn’t be more wrong, but they still persist despite around half of all gamers being female – and women and girls of all ages playing and enjoying games every day.
“What’s really worrying, though, is that this male-dominated idea is so pervasive – and it influences what families think about games, and what young women think as they grow up and make decisions about their careers.
“I just hope that the release of Tick Tock Toys will help show young women that they can get into the games industry – and that they too can create the games they love to play.”
Following their BAFTA Ones to Watch win last March, the team completed postgraduate studies at Abertay University before being awarded £25,000 from the Abertay University Prototype Fund to develop and test a full version of Tick Tock Toys.
As well as the investment, Swallowtail Games benefited from free studio space, computers and industry standard software, all to support the fragile early stages of forming their business.
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “We’re very encouraged by the increasing interest in our game art, design and programming degrees from female students, but a greater public awareness is needed that everyone can enter this industry.
“Through initiatives like our game design competition Dare to be Digital and the huge games festival we run in Dundee every year, we’re introducing thousands of school children to the idea of creating their own games.
“Strong female role models like Sophia are an important part of that, and everyone at Abertay University is delighted to see Tick Tock Toys develop from a Dare to be Digital entry to a finished commercial product.”
Swallowtail Games today consists of Mark Bamford, John Cooper, Kristian Francis and Sophia George, who all graduated from Abertay University. Audio designer Cam Goold also worked on the release version of the game.
The 2013 British Academy Games Awards ceremony will be held next Tuesday 5 March in London, and will be presented by comedian and games enthusiast Dara O Briain.
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About Abertay University
Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997, and runs both the UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education and the international game design contest Dare to be Digital.
Our unique partnership with BAFTA makes Dare the exclusive pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, a major recognition of up-and-coming games talent.
Through the Abertay University Prototype Fund start-up and small developers across the UK have access to funding to create new prototypes and attract additional investment, another practical way Abertay supports the growth of a sustainable, successful games industry.
Abertay has the highest number of Skillset accreditations for computer games courses as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on our courses.