The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has announced the winners of the 2019 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition at an awards ceremony at its headquarters, BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. Four aspiring game designers aged between 10 and 18, as well as an inspirational teacher, have all been honored with BAFTA YGD awards.
The BAFTA YGD competition, now in its ninth year, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for a written idea for a new game; and the Game Making Award, for a game made using computer software.
The 2019 winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts, are:
•Game Concept Award (10-14 years) Winner
‘I Seek Death’ by Jesse Waymont, age 13 from Crawley
After the death of her father, 7-year-old Frankie sets out on a journey to find Death and ask him to send her dad home; she finds herself as a patchwork doll in a magical land while her story is told in chapters representing the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
•Game Concept Award (15-18 years) Winner
‘Creatively Bankrupt’ by Elizabeth Orji-Smith, age 17 from London
An Action RPG about a small animation crew, turned part-time Robin Hood heist group, snoop around studios in a hyperbolic entertainment built city to share once exclusive resources, balance the scales, and bust open the big score - the secret vault!
•Game Making Award (10-14 years) Winner
‘LASERASE: Demolition in the future’ by Maximillian Robinson, age 14
A demolition puzzle game where the player uses a mirror to reflect a laser at targets to blow them up... avoiding lethal TNT which on detonation would blow you up!
•Game Making Award (15-18 years) Winner
‘Wip’ by Adam Pace, age 18 from Sunderland
A short story-driven platformer about friendship, loss and moving forward. You the player come across a PC that is running an old operating system and has been out of use for many years. Stored within it you find an abandoned game project and its protagonist "Char1" a highly advanced AI that has been running on the desktop. "Char1" asks you to help him navigate through the game's levels and defeat the colourful characters that exist in the world. As you approach the end of the journey you come realise the unfortunate reality of "Char1's" existence and he asks you to make the ultimate decision regarding his future.
•YGD Mentor Award
Mr. Matthew Applegate, Creative Computing Club, Suffolk
In 2012, Matthew founded the Creative Computing Club an organisation that currently works with over 300 young people a week in Suffolk helping them to engage in technology-based sessions. The club delivers short courses on game design, computer programming, robotics, AI, VR and more. Through its informal and non-competitive environment, it has allowed the young people to gain confidence and qualifications in areas that interest them the most. Through its seven-year history, it has produced several successful alumni who have gone on to work both locally and nationally in the games industry.
In a written message to attendees and the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge and President of BAFTA said:
“This year the entries have an overwhelming social purpose to them, focusing on issues including mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights. Many of the game ideas strive to educate players of all ages on the social issues they address, hoping to prompt real change in people’s lives. I think it is fantastic to see young people using games to express themselves and purposes that they identify with.”
The ceremony was hosted by Alysia Judge (games journalist and presenter) and Aoife Wilson (writer, presenter and video producer for Eurogamer), with notable industry figures presenting the awards to the winners, including YouTuber Dean Dobbs, game developer and co-founder of Media Molecule Siobhan Reddy, and BAFTA Games Vice President David Gardner. BAFTA-winning game designer Mike Bithell delivered the closing speech for the ceremony, praising the young designers’ creativity and talent.
The annual YGD competition, which began in 2010, aims to demonstrate the creativity that goes into game design and give young people, and their teachers, an understanding of the rewarding careers available within the industry. The four winners, chosen from 53 finalists, received a host of prizes, including tours of games studios, software licenses, games and a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further.
Previous winners have gone on to have successful careers within the industry. Dan Pearce was part of BAFTA’s flagship new talent scheme ‘Breakthrough Brits’, before becoming BAFTA nominated for his work. Dan Smith released his game The Spectrum Retreat with Ripstone Games Publishers last year. The game went on to be nominated at the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards.
Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of Games Committee at BAFTA, said:
“It is fantastic to see such a high caliber of games from upcoming creative talent being rewarded. It’s been another great year for the competition, and with previous winners having gone on to be BAFTA nominated, I can’t wait to see this year’s winners go out and make their own mark on the industry.”
Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, King, PlayStation, Ubisoft, and WB Games.
For more information visit bafta.org.