The Orwell Youth Prize, a charity that typically recognises young writers, will now also reward young game designers with a new gaming category.
The new category is thanks to a partnership between the Orwell Foundation and Imre Jele, project founder of PC and mobile title Animal Farm, which released today.
The Orwell Youth Prize, which usually takes writing from 12 to 18 year olds inspired by the works of George Orwell, will now expand this scope to include video games inspired by the classic author.
“The prize is an annual programme for 12-18-year olds which seeks to amplify the voices that go unheard and aims to give more young people the tools, confidence and platform to make an impact and change the world around them through their writing,” said the announcement. “By creating a new game design category the idea is that more young people — including those who are typically underrepresented among entrants — will be encouraged to take part because they can write for a platform they love.”
On the note of Orwell, we spoke to Jele about the development of the Animal Farm game, and his relationship with George Orwell. Much like those who will be submitting to the Orwell Youth Prize, Jele was hugely inspired by Orwell, and saw his works as being depressingly relevant today.
“I would say that today, the language used is like Khrushchevian Russia, like the Soviet Union” said Jele. “It’s not quite Stalin yet, but very close. Five years ago, ten years ago, I said, Oh, you know, it’s almost Khrushchevian. Now, it’s way beyond that and getting into Stalinian language. The way things are set up and the way governments behave, even in Western democracies is quite creepy.
“So it felt that there is more to this than a literary adaptation. It was more than just the fact that the book is really important to me, and I think we can make a great game out of it. I felt that there is a responsibility to bring that to life and bring it in front of people.