This year’s winners of BAFTA’s Young Game Designers competition have been announced.
The annual awards aim to celebrate up-and-coming creators, with 2016’s stars aged between 10 and 18, and is split into two categories: Game Concept for a written idea for a game, and Game Making, for a playable title made with software.
13-year-old Aysheq Hussain from Birmingham was awarded with the accolade for Game Concept (10 to 14) for his idea, Imagibots - Save Eden Green. The game is described as such: “One day out of the blue, Professor Eden received a telephone call from the Mayor of Eden Green. It was terrible news, there was a massive asteroid on a collision course for the village and apparently there was nothing the government could do to save Eden Green from being obliterated.”
The next age bracket for the Game Concept (15 to 18) was won by 18-year-old Nic Gordon from Derby for You Are Being Followed, a “a story-driven game, containing puzzle and exploration elements”.
“You control of Emma, a blind woman, driven by paranoia to leave the noise of her home in a bustling metropolis in pursuit of a place of complete silence.”
Over in the Game Making category, the 10 to 14 bracket was won by 14-year-old Charlie Thurston for Apocalypse Alpha. Thurston’s gametakes place in a world that “has been ravaged by a deadly and mysterious infection known as The Judgement, the lucky ones are dead and the minds of survivors are destroyed”.
“Throughout the game you must scavenge for supplies and weapons, fight your way through the hordes of Infected and reach the Airbase in one piece. You'll make friends and enemies, but in the end it's every man for himself.”
The final award, for Game Making (15 to 18) was picked up by Daniel Smith, an 18-year-old from Gateshead in Tyne and Wear. Smith’s title Spectrum is a “mind-bending first person puzzler that challenges you to switch colours and manipulate gravity in order to escape a digital labyrinth”.
“You don't know why you're there or what the purpose of the place is. The only way to navigate the chambers is completing increasingly challenging puzzles, the more you overcome, and the more you learn the dark secrets this digital place hides.”
Two special prizes were given to those helping budding game designers grow their skills.
Michael Warburton, head of games development at Cambridge Regional College and founder of educational studio Rizing Games, was given the YGD Mentor Award for his efforts.
Meanwhile, LittleBigPlanet studio Media Molecule was awarded with the prize for YGD Hero in reflection of its support for young devs.
“When I met the winners of the 2015 competition, I saw for myself the remarkable game ideas and game-making skills of young people today and I am once again very impressed by the unique ideas of this year’s finalists,” said Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and president of BAFTA.
“The games industry continues to be one of the most successful, creative and fastest growing in the country and I am pleased to see so many young people taking advantage of this exciting opportunity – one which could well launch their careers as the next big thing in British games.”