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Dare to be Digital 2009

Winners of student game design contest announced.

17th August 2009

The winners of the UK’s premier computer games design competition, who are also the sole nominees for the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award, have been announced at Dare ProtoPlay at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Butterflyers, Gentlemen of Fortune and Pixel Pirates, were the top three teams as chosen by a panel of gaming industry experts during the three day event. Each team won a £2500 cash prize as well as becoming the finalists for the BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award.

The Butterflyers, whose game ‘Shrunk!’ sees the player reduced to the size of a salt shaker as they battle against Dr Shockalot to rescue the Kleinoscope – a device which reduces the world around you at will, won the Dare Teams choice award in addition to being named as a BAFTA finalist.

Gentlemen of Fortune were also amongst the winners for their physics based action-stealth game ‘Quick as Thieves’, in which the player is challenged to navigate round their way around a museum at night to steal the valuable ‘Macguffin’. The more items the player can steal the greater their abilities however get greedy and there is a greater chance of being caught.

Pixel Pirates for their 3D platform, puzzle-based game ‘Colour Coded’ which utilises Wacom graphics tablets, also placed in the top three.

All three teams were from Dundee’s own Abertay University. The industry judging panel was made up of some of the top names in the computer gaming industry and included representation from BAFTA, BBC, Blitz Games Studios, Cohort, Denki, Disney, Ninja Theory, Rare, Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North, Sony, and Turner Broadcasting,

Judge Andy Nuttall BAFTA video games judging panel said: "I was impressed with the level of quality at this year's Dare Protoplay, which just keeps on getting better. Each team showed determination to impress both through their games and their pitches, with plenty of originality and technical achievement on show. It was difficult to pick three to go forward, and choosing one for the ultimate ‘Ones to Watch’ award at the BAFTAs will be particularly tough."

Two other teams: Inertia Interactive (Portsmouth University) and Five Armed Bandits (Abertay University) won the Intel Visual Adrenaline Award and Audience Award respectively.

Dare to be Digital, hailed by BAFTA as the ‘perfect pathway’ for young talent in the games industry, is now in its tenth year.

In all, 14 teams of five students each have spent the last 10 weeks at the ‘dare development hothouse’ at the University of Abertay Dundee where they have had access to top of the range equipment provided by an illustrious list of sponsors in addition to receiving mentoring from some of the top names in the computer games industry. As well as being invited to provide game ideas during the start of the competition and being invited to judge the games at Dare ProtoPlay, members of the public have been able to follow the teams’ progress online via blog entries and video diaries.

This year the teams came from as far as China, India, Norway and Canada.

Abertay’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Bernard King CBE said: “Dare to be Digital is recognised as the number one new talent spotting event for the computer games industry. Students arrive with ideas, boundless energy and enthusiasm, and leave with new confidence and with much-sought-after experience on their CVs. More than 80% of those who take part go on to employment in the industry.

“The talent seems to get better and better every year and it has been so wonderful to see the reactions of both the public and members of the international gaming industry towards the game prototypes that have been produced here.

“Games created during previous Dare to be Digital competitions have go on to win international awards and be made into games that the public can buy such as ‘VegeMe’ for the i-phone which was previewed at Dare ProtoPlay this weekend.”

Dare ProtoPlay celebrates the strengths of the international games business, but also highlights the prominent role of the Scottish computer games sector as a key part of a global multi-million pound industry.


Photo shows (left to right) winning teams: Pixel Pirates, Gentlemen of Fortune and Butterflyers.

High profile images available on request

Media enquiries: Vicki White

T: 01382 308935 M: 07837 250284

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Dare to be Digital 09 – Sponsors

Dare to be Digital is sponsored by many of the world’s leading technology and media companies and organisations including: Intel, Turner Broadcasting, Autodesk, Adobe, amBX, NCR, Wacom, The Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council, The Digital Hub Dublin, The Department of Education and Science International Section, Belfast City Council, Invest Northern Ireland

Dare to be Digital 09 - Develop Accord

Blackrock Studio, Blitz Games Studios, BBC Scotland, Cohort Studios, Denki, Ninja Theory, Rare, Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North, SEGA and Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) have all joined the ‘Developer Accord’, to provide mentoring support for this year’s Dare to be Digital teams.

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