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Ground-breaking sixth year for premier computer games contest

Dare to be Digital, the UK's premier computer games design competition for students, has launched its sixth ground-breaking season.

The contest, hosted by Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, is back for 2006 stronger than ever and continuing to develop its global reach.

This year, for the first time, teams and individuals are expected to sign up not just from the UK but from North America and Asia as well.

The deadline for applications is 17 April, following which seven teams will be selected to join the competition in Dundee for 10 weeks over the summer to develop a prototype video game, receiving daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists. At the end of the competition, the prototypes are judged by a panel of experts and prizes awarded to the teams at a special awards ceremony and talent showcase.

The selected teams will comprise four from Scotland, one from Northern Ireland, one from Ireland, and one from Canada. In addition, the Scottish Executive's Fresh Talent initiative is funding seven places for Chinese and Indian students, each of whom will join one of the teams.

Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-grade talent. Of the four Scottish teams that entered last year, for example, one became a start-up games company in Glasgow, and another is currently negotiating with a major publisher.

A third team became a start-up company based at Abertay with funding from NESTA and is developing its concept into a commercial product, while the fourth - whose members are completing their studies - is negotiating the sale of its game to a developer.

Team members from previous years have gone on to work for major names such as Lionhead, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft while local talent is also retained in Dundee by Real Time Worlds, Denki and other companies.

Dare to be Digital has launched a brand new website giving details of the contest and information about past winners and entrants - www.daretobedigital.com

Jackie McKenzie, Abertay University's project manager for Dare to be Digital, said: "There are now more reasons than ever for teams to get together and enter Dare. The track record of previous participants shows how very highly regarded it is within the computer games industry.

"The ethos that runs throughout Dare is a winning formula: students start the competition with ideas and enthusiasm and come out of the competition confident and highly skilled with sought after experience under their belt.

"On top of that we have fantastic facilities and support available, and an unrivalled chance to make new friends and contacts within the industry, earn some money for working on your own ideas and maybe even win substantial prizes."

Dare to be Digital 2006 is funded by Abertay University and Dundee City Council, and sponsored by NCR, BBC Scotland, Belfast City Council, The Digital Hub, NESTA and the Scottish Executive.

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NOTES FOR EDITORS

More information: www.daretobedigital.com

www.abertay.ac.uk

Dare to be Digital was established by partners the University of Abertay Dundee, Scottish Enterprise Tayside and Dundee City Council in 2000, when the competition was piloted to students at Abertay. The following year, Dare opened its doors to all students in all Scottish Universities and Colleges of Art. It remained so until Dare 2005, when the competition became international. This decision was partly due to the success of the international teams that had taken part in Dare over the years (teams from Malaysia, Japan and Ireland have all taken part in Dare).

Media enquiries: Kevin Coe

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