Bafta YGD 2019
Hosts Aoife Wilson & Alysia Judge

[From the industry] BAFTA launches 12th annual competition to find the UK’s best young game designers

This is a press release posted in addition to our usual editorial content.

BAFTA has opened entries for its 12th annual Young Game Designers (YGD) competition for 10 – 18 year olds, celebrating new games talent and inspiring the UK’s future game makers by giving young people the chance to design or make their own game.

Entries are now open at ygd.bafta.org and will close on Monday 14 March 2022. Entries are shortlisted to 40 finalists from across the UK, who will be announced in June. The winners will be revealed at a special virtual BAFTA ceremony on 30 June 2022, following the success of previous digital YGD ceremonies in 2020 and 2021.

Over the last decade, BAFTA YGD has provided new opportunities for budding game-makers to showcase their creativity. In addition to providing information about careers in the games industry, the initiative re-emphasises the positive effect that gaming can have on young people and their communities, including parents, teachers, and peers.

Many of the previous winners and finalists of the BAFTA YGD competition are now thriving in the games industry. Dan Pearce (BAFTA Breakthrough and YGD 2010 winner) earned a Debut Game BAFTA nomination in 2014 for his original creation Castles in the SkyDaniel Smith’s (2016 winner) work was showcased at EGX, picked up by Ripstone Games and released commercially. Emily Mitchell (2017 winner) also commercially released the game Fractured Minds, an honest journey into the human psyche. Spruce Campbell (2017 winner) independently published his game on the App Store, and most recently David McIntosh (2020 finalist) released his first game SnakeLaw Island on Steam after receiving mentorship from game designer Alexander Francois (Brainchild Studios).

All finalists receive a bundle of games goodies from YGD partners, a series of exclusive masterclasses, digital mentorship (for 13+) and careers advice from industry experts and the opportunity to showcase their game to the industry at a special event at BAFTA’s newly developed HQ in London Piccadilly. Alongside a BAFTA YGD Award, winners additionally receive bespoke advice and support in developing their game ideas.

Andrew Ah-Weng, BAFTA YGD Winner 2021, said: “I gained a lot of confidence working through the many challenges during the YGD experience.  It was really fun meeting the experts as they provided some valuable insights into the industry.  I would really encourage anyone, who, like me, is starting out in game development to sign up for YGD!”

David McIntosh, BAFTA YGD Finalist 2020, said: “YGD is a fantastic opportunity. It’s an amazing experience to develop a game from start to finish and to watch your creation come to life. As a finalist I met loads of great people and got some experience in the industry. I was lucky enough to be mentored by an indie developer – I learnt lots and he helped me to develop my game further and launch it on Steam this year!”

Dr Jo Twist OBE, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “We are so impressed year after year by the quality of our Young Game Designer entries – from dealing with grief to the environment, gender fluidity, disability and mental health – the competition remains a unique platform for creative ideas and early access to the industry. Young people hold the future of the games industry in their hands and in their ideas and we cannot wait to see the fresh ideas, new concepts as part of this year’s competition, and look forward to celebrating and recognising the diverse work of budding game developers across the UK.”

There are four award categories in the competition: The YGD Game Concept Award, split by 10-14 years and 15-18 years categories, for those creating an original concept for a new game, and the YGD Game Making Award, also split into 10-14 years and 15-18 years, for those making a game using freely available software. Each participant can enter by themselves or in a team of three.

With competitions, online teaching tools, workshops, and social networks, BAFTA YGD serves as a key part of BAFTA’s charitable remit, providing young people and teachers with unique opportunities to learn about the games industry. Through BAFTA’s redevelopment of 195 Piccadilly, which will open in early 2022, an entire floor will be devoted to its learning and talent programmes, enabling over 80,000 people to develop their careers in the creative industries.

In addition, YGD engages with teachers and provides them with free educational resources such as a YGD app which has an Idea Generator, worksheets and videos, as well as assessing what resources the education sector needs to support career paths in game design.

For more information about YGD, visit ygd.bafta.org. Tips and advice on the application process can be found here.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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