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BAFTA Announces Winners of Young Game Designers Competition

BAFTA Announces Winners of Young Game Designers Competition

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced the winners of the 2014 BAFTA Young Game Designers competition at a glittering awards ceremony at BAFTA's Headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London. The winners, chosen by a jury of industry experts and celebrity gamers, are:

• 16 year-old Rhianna Hawkins, from Taunton in Somerset, winner of the Game Concept Award - for the best written idea for a new game - for her game Tomatos Role. Rhianna is the first female winner of a BAFTA Young Game Designers award.

• 15 year-old Adam Oliver from Warwick in the West Midlands, winner of the Game Making Award - for a game made using computer software - for his game AlienX. This is the third time that Adam has reached the final stages of the competition, having made the top 10 for the Game Concept Award in 2010 and 2011.

Now in its fourth year, the BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative aims to inspire the game designers and game-makers of the future by giving 11-16 year-olds the chance to design and create their own game and develop it with industry professionals.

For The First Time this year, the winners were named at a special ceremony attended by all the finalists, their families and leading figures in the games industry. Singer-songwriter Conor Maynard presented Adam with the Game Making Award whilst magician and star of ITV2's Tricked Ben Hanlin presented Rhianna the Game Concept Award, and treated the audience to some of his signature tricks.

The event was hosted by Ross Hornby (djh3max), Chris Trott (Trottimus) and Alex Smith (Alsmiffy), gaming filmmakers from YouTube sensation Hat Films, part of the hugely popular Yogscast network.

Harvey Elliott, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and the BAFTA Children's Committee, said: "Rhianna and Adam are two very exciting new young game designers. Rhianna, our first ever female winner, bodes well for the future of our male-dominated industry, and Adam, who has received a top award at the third attempt, demonstrates the power of perseverance. It's wonderful to be able to celebrate their achievements alongside all the other finalists at this special awards ceremony."

Along with their BAFTA Young Game Designers awards, Rhianna and Adam will also receive:

• Further development of their game with the University of Abertay Dundee;
• An exclusive, unique, studio visit, courtesy of Jagex;
• A selection of 2014 Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment game releases;
• Exclusive signed artwork from previous Criterion Games releases, courtesy of EA;
• A special PlayStationFirst Education starter kit for the winners' schools, consisting of three PS3 consoles with Little Big Planet software and three PS Vita consoles with Tearaway software, presented by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.

In Rhianna Hawkins' game Tomatos Role the player directs the central tomato character through a fruit salad full of obstacles. By crossing bowls of increasing size the tomato boosts its popularity, aiming to be accepted as a member of the fruit family. As a member of the Game Concept Award jury, Ben Hanlin said of Rhianna's game: "I can see this game becoming a brand. The game's joke has virility and the potential to stand out on indie platforms." Fellow jury member Mark Ogilvie, Design Director at Jagex said: "It's a funny, exciting idea with a real spark. As a concept it is difficult to fault, the beauty is it is simple and tactile. I can feel the personality of this designer and would like to work with them."

Adam Oliver's game AlienX requires players to stop a horde of aliens from reaching a teleporter, using an array of weapons, travelling through four solar systems and finally battling the big boss, AlienX. The Game Making Jury praised Adam's use of logic and weaponry, and his dedication in creating 21 levels of the game. Jury member Maddie Moate, presenter and technology specialist (Earth Unplugged and O2 Guru TV) said: "I really enjoyed playing it. I particularly liked the planets, and thought it had a polished style." Andrea Wastlund, Assistant Producer at FreeStyleGames, said: "AlienX has so much thought put into it...I'm very impressed with the design and puzzles, and it could work on iPad. Amazing!"

For a full list of jury members, go to: http://ygd.bafta.org/Jurors-2014.

The BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative seeks to equip young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to become the next generation of successful game designers. It aims to demystify the creative process of games development and highlight how key qualifications in areas such as maths, physics and computer science are essential for those wishing to enter the industry.

The competition is supported by a year-round programme of activity, including: a dedicated website ( www.bafta.org/ygd ) where BAFTA members, award winners and nominees share their insights and advice through interviews and exclusive video content; a web series, fronted by internet celebrities Yogscast, that gives a light-hearted look behind the scenes of the games industry; an online 'feedback hub' where young people can submit ideas or questions about their entry, with the chance of gaining a personalised response from a games expert; and live workshops around the country.

Industry partners include EA, Jagex, King, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, SEGA, Unity, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and University of Abertay Dundee. Tesco and its technology companies support the initiative as a Mentoring Partner, offering opportunities for young people to be mentored by tech experts to create a game app. Further details about the initiative, as well as teaching resources and details of workshops that took place around the country, can be found at www.bafta.org/ygd.

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