• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

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North East teenagers make finals for BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the finalists in a nationwide competition, Young Game Designers, to find the game designers of the future. The winners, chosen by a panel of industry professionals, will be revealed at a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London, on Saturday 29 June.

Adam Pace, 18 from Sunderland and Thomas Robson, 17 from Durham both beat off competition to become one of the 53 finalists who have worked individually or in teams to submit one of the 40 entries. Young people aged 10-18 years submitted game designs and concepts addressing a wide range of issues including mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights. A number of these entries strived to educate players of all ages on the social issues they address, hoping to prompt real change in people’s lives. Entries also included adventures, imaginary kingdoms, quests, and puzzles demonstrating impressive planning, creativity and ingenuity.

Adam’s game concept which is called, ‘Wip’ explores friendship and loss as you defeat characters with the help of an AI friend. This is the second time Adam has made the final.

Adam’s game was inspired by the loss of his Grandfather so making the final is especially special for Adam, who said:

“I was thrilled to hear that I was able to be part of Bafta YGD for a second time. It is a motivation to create something and to continue to improve. Losing my grandad Noel last July inspired the underlying theme of loss in the game as well as the main theme of friendship in unlikely places and moving forward.”


Thomas’ game concept which is called ‘They Came From the Sea’ is an endless battle against waves of ghosts. Stay alive as long as possible to top the leader board. This is also the second time Luke has made the final.

Thomas, who is delighted to have been selected, said:

“To receive a second BAFTA nomination is just incredible! I have met some great people who I am sure I will be in contact with for many years to come – and maybe work with in the future – and I can’t wait to attend this year’s event and hopefully take home the award!”

This year the 40 entries from the 53 finalists have an overwhelming social purpose to them.

Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of Games Committee at BAFTA, said: “Games are a fantastic art form for creators to express themselves, and I am delighted to see young people tackling important topics through their design and concept entries this year. Their creativity and ambition for social change through the medium of games is inspiring. A very well deserved congratulations and good luck to all the 2019 finalists!”

Finalists will be competing for the Game Concept Award, which recognises a paper-based written game idea, and the Game Making Award for those who have developed their coding skills and submitted a prototype game made using freely available software. The finalists worked on their entries in a variety of ways, including individually, within a team at school, through coding clubs, or at home with friends and family.

The annual BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, which began in 2010, aims to demonstrate the creativity that goes in to game design and give young people, and their teachers, an understanding of the rewarding careers available within the industry.

Prithvi Kohli and Sophia Shepherd, 2018 YGD winners, will sit alongside a panel of industry experts who will judge the finalists entries and choose four winners across the categories. Panellists include presenters Aoife Wilson, Alysia Judge and Elle Osilli-Wood, Jane Douglas, YouTuber Dean Dobbs, Rockstar animator Jim Jagger, and indie game-developer and Des Gayle.

Prithvi Kohli, 2018 YGD Game Making winner, said: “This year’s finalist games are super impressive as always, both in terms of their creativity and execution. My year with BAFTA YGD has been inspiring and confidence-boosting; from attending BAFTA events, to studio tours and meeting industry professionals, I have gained so much insight and advice for getting into the games industry — I’ve never been more excited about making games!”

Sophia Shepherd, 2018 YGD Game Concept winner, said: “All of the finalists’ games this year are of such incredible talent. It has been so great to see young people tackling themes such as environmental issues and representation of LGBTQ+ communities. I’ve loved my year with BAFTA YGD; meeting incredible people from the games industry and going to events has been an exciting experience I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. All the finalists have so much potential and I’m very excited to see what they all do next.”

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.

The winners of both strands, in 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges, will receive a host of prizes, including: games, hardware, software licenses, tours of games studios and a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further.

Also presented on the night is the YGD Mentor Award, awarded to an individual involved in the education of young game designers. This year, there are three mentor finalists in the running who all work with young people in schools, clubs and youth initiatives across the UK.

To see the full list of our young finalists and mentors go to http://ygd.bafta.org/ygd-winners-and-finalists

The BAFTA YGD competition is part of a year-round BAFTA 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.

Supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly (SEGA), Criterion (EA), Jagex, King, PlayStation, Ubisoft, and WB Games.