The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the winners of the 2018 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition at a prestigious awards ceremony at its headquarters in London.
10 year old Harry Thurston, from Forest Row in East Sussex is one of the winners, and also the youngest. He has won the Game Making Award (10-14 years) Harry is the competition’s youngest winner for 2018 with his puzzle game ‘Maggie’.
Maggie is a minimalist puzzle platformer in which you guide Maggie, a cute red cube, through a series of levels using only her ability to stretch. The player explores Maggie’s world by growing and shrinking. The ten levels in the demo are easy to start with but get more and more challenging as Maggie moves through them. Maggie is Harry’s first program using Unity.
Download and play Harry’s winning game here.
The event was hosted by Julia Hardy (BBC Radio 1’s video games presenter) and Aoife Wilson (writer, presenter and video producer with gaming website Eurogamer). The winners were announced by leading games industry figures including voice actor Abubakar Salim (Bayek, Assassins Creed: Origins), games journalist and presenter Alysia Judge, presenter Ellen Rose (Outside Xtra and Outside Xbox) and YouTube star Amazing Arabella.
As well as a coveted YGD trophy, BAFTA will facilitate a bespoke mentoring package to support the young winners in their future game making projects. This could include guidance on further development of their winning game, and meetings with industry professionals for advice on work experience and careers. All the winners also receive a host of prizes, including workshops, studio tours, games, software subscriptions, merchandise and more. Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers are: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, King, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Ubisoft, Unity and WB Games.
To close the ceremony, Tameem Antoniades, chief creative director at Ninja Theory Ltd, makers of the BAFTA-winning Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, gave an inspiring speech praising the unlimited creativity on show and urging the finalists to never limit their imaginations and keep creating what makes them happy.
Prior to the ceremony, all 60 young finalists had the opportunity to showcase their game concepts and prototypes to their peers and special guests.
In a written message to attendees, BAFTA’s President HRH The Duke of Cambridge said: “The variety of themes that have been tackled – and with such ingenuity and creativity – shows just how versatile games can be in representing who we are and what we believe in.”
Nick Button-Brown, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee said: “The Young Game Designers competition and initiative continually improves in the way it interacts and engages young people with careers in the games industry as well as just letting them have fun working with other kids and making games. I hope that the winners and finalists here today go on to create diverse games that are culturally important, break new boundaries and enjoy the games industry as much as I have.”
The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round programme of activity that gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a website (www.bafta.org/ygd) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice and a range of teaching resources that link the BAFTA YGD competition to the national curriculum.