BAFTA seeks next generation of game designers in annual competition

Entries for the 2019 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) are now open for 10-18 year-olds, together with nominations for the mentor award

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is calling for entries for the 2019 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD). The annual competition aims to inspire the UK’s game-makers of the future, by giving young people the chance to design and make their own game.

The winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s London HQ in June next year, attended by leading games industry figures. The winning entrants will receive further development for their games, mentoring by games professionals, visits to major games studios, and a host of other prizes. Prior to the ceremony, all the finalists will also have the opportunity to showcase their game concepts and prototypes at a special event attended by leading industry figures.

There are three award categories in the competition: the YGD Game Concept Award for those creating an original concept for a new game, and the YGD Game Making Award, for those making a game using freely available software. Both of these categories are open to 10-18 year olds, and entrants can enter either as individuals or with a team of up to two other people. The YGD Mentor Award is nominated by the public, and is intended to reward an inspirational individual involved in the education of young game creators in the UK, particularly those reaching out to people who might not typically try game design.

The BAFTA YGD competition is a great way for young people to explore the craft of game design and get direct feedback from leading figures in the games world. Tim Hunter

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Now in its ninth year, the competition engaged more than 4,000 young people in 2018. It has been designed so that young people can enter in their own time, as part of a lesson in school, within a coding club, or as an additional homework challenge set by their teacher. To support teachers and code club leaders, BAFTA has also created a range of free online teaching resources which are available to download at bafta.org/resources.

Previous winners have gone on to receive accolades throughout the games industry. Dan Pearce, a winner in 2010, was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013, and his game, Castles in the Sky, earned him a BAFTA nomination for Debut Game in 2014.

The kinds of ideas we see submitted to YGD demonstrate that young people see games as a medium through which they can tell the stories which are important to them. Tim Hunter

Earlier this year, winners showcased their creations at EGX Rezzed, London’s largest games event. They included 2016 victor, Daniel Smith, whose game was picked up by Ripstone Games, and has since been released commercially; and 2017 winner, Emily Mitchell, currently working with a games publisher to release her game commercially; and 2017 winner Spruce Campbell, who self-published his game on the App Store.

Tim Hunter, Director of Learning and New Talent at BAFTA, said: “The BAFTA YGD competition is a great way for young people to explore the craft of game design and get direct feedback from leading figures in the games world. Games are one of the most exciting, engaging and pervasive art forms and, increasingly, the kinds of ideas we see submitted to YGD demonstrate that young people see games as a medium through which they can tell the stories which are important to them. Each year we’re blown away by the creativity and skills of the applicants and we can’t wait to see this year’s entries.”

For full terms and conditions or to enter the competition, go to ygd.bafta.org. The deadline is Wednesday 13 March 2019.

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