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BAFTA reveals 2018 Young Game Designers winners

Promising young developers win with concepts and prototypes for mental health titles and particle physics puzzlers

The British Academy for Film and Television Arts has announced the winners for the 2018 edition of its Young Game Designers competition, which aims to nurture and encourage talent games makers who are less than 18 years old.

Once again, there were four big awards: two for game concept and two for playable prototypes, with each category split into two age groups (10 to 14 years old, and 15 to 18 years old).

The youngest Game Concept winners were Daliva (14) and Tiya Dhillon (11) from Yorkshire, who took the prize with their pitch for a game called Trapped. This would be a retro 2D story exploring mental health, following a teenager at school and how his life changes from day to night.

Meanwhile, the youngest Game Making winner was East Sussex-based ten-year-old Harry Thurston, who proposed minimalist puzzle platformer Maggie. This saw players controlling a red cube (named Maggie) who can stretch, grow and shrink to navigate the various levels. This was Thurston's first playable project and was made using Unity.

Looking at the older entrants, the winners for Game Concept were Wimbledon trio Sophia Shepherd (16), Kat Shields (16) and Erin Jones (17), who pitched Tea & Tartlets. This is a story-based simulation game where players run a cafe, but with a romance plot throughout and the unpredictable threat of food critics, who visits can lead to the cafe closing if they are unimpressed.

Finally, 17-year-old Prithvi Kholi from Surrey won the upper Game Making award for particle physics puzzle game Super Boson, which was designed to inspire scientific curiosity and interest in STEM subjects.

All winners received a special BAFTA YGD trophy, plus a mentoring package that will help them either continue their project or work on new ones. Other prizes included workshops, studio tours, software subscriptions, games, and more from BAFTA partners, which included PlayStation, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, Unity, Creative Assembly, Criterion, Jagex and King.

There was also a YGD Mentor Award for a publicly-nominated educator, which went to Adam Syrop of Bradford-based workshop centre Impact Gamers.

BAFTA Games Committee chair Nick Button-Brown 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."

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