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Science Museum's Launchball game wins international media award

The Science Museum has received major international recognition for its innovative online game Launchball.

The game, developed to accompany the museum's recently reinvented Launchpad children's gallery - has won both "Best Game" and the overall "Best in Show" award at the 2008 South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas.

The festival attracts some of the most influential figures in the global media and web industries. The keynote speaker this year was the founder of Facebook - and the web awards are among the most prestigious for interactive and web-based media in the world. Among the other nominations was the website of "Wired" magazine.

Launchball is an online game aimed at 8-14 year olds which incorporates the rules of physics and ties in with the content of the museum's new Launchpad gallery. The game is a collaboration between the Science Museum and online gaming company Preloaded.

Daniel Evans, Launchball's Project Director and Head of Web at the Science Museum said, "It's an extraordinary achievement for a project of this kind from the museum sector to be recognised on an international level. It's amazing to see how popular the game has become - getting 1.5 million players and a community of 100,000 users creating their own levels and swapping them with their friends. The key to our success is largely due to Preloaded's understanding of the game genre combined with the Science Museum's understanding of its audience".

Emily Scott-Dearing, Launchpad Project Leader said, 'We're putting players' physics know-how to the test because whilst the game feels like addictive fun, key messages about the laws of physics underpin every level. That's why Launchball is a great educational tool as teachers can incorporate the game into science lessons via their interactive white boards".

The new Launchpad project has been made possible by support from principal sponsor Shell, major sponsor Nintendo, major funder The Garfield Weston Foundation, with additional support from The Zochonis Charitable Trust. Andrew Eddy, Director, Shell UK said: "For Shell, it is imperative that we engage young people in science and encourage them to discover how the world works. The Launchball game is a wonderful extension to the Launchpad gallery; it allows children throughout the world to learn the principles of physics and develop their problem solving skills."

In the two months between the game going live and the Launchpad gallery opening last November, Launchball attracted over 1 million online visitors. It also featured on the front page of news website Digg and was projected on to the side of the Shell Bank Centre on London's South Bank.

To play the game log onto http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball

For further information please contact Laura Singleton at the Science Museum press office on 0207 942 4364 or e-mail: laura.singleton@sciencemuseum.org.uk

Notes to Editors - Launchpad

1. The new gallery is 1,200m2 in size with a capacity of 350 people at one time, 150 more than the current space.

2. The Science Museum is home to more than 12,000 objects and provides a fascinating insight into the worlds of science, technology, medicine and industry. Hands on galleries, drama characters and science shows bring to life the past, present and future of human scientific ingenuity. See and interact with major scientific advances from the last 300 years, from original working steam engines to the actual Apollo 10 command module, all spread over seven floors in a building ¼ mile long. A giant IMAX cinema and exhilarating simulator rides make the Science Museum a thrilling day out. In addition, the Dana Centre, the Science Museum's annex dedicated to discussing contemporary and controversial science, brings live debates, science art installations, experiments and stand-up comedy to everybody over 18 who wants a thought-provoking night out. The museum was established with the profits from The Great Exhibition of 1851 and is now one of the top visitor attractions in the UK. The Science Museum is free and open seven days a week. Visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

3. Shell, as an energy company, is at the forefront of one of the most pressing issues of our time; the energy challenge. Encouraging young people to continue in the field of science is important to us all; we will only meet the future energy demands by science and technology, creativity and innovation. Shell's commitment of £2 million to the new Launchpad at the Science Museum is one way that Shell works to encourage science education and inspire our young scientists. For the past 40 years Shell has also supported the Shell Education Service; a hands-on programme of interactive workshops that reach 50,000 young children across the UK each year.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 130 countries with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of Liquified Natural Gas and Gas to Liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects including wind and solar power. For further information, visit www.shell.com.

4. The reinvention of Launchpad would not have been possible without the support of our principal sponsor Shell. The Science Museum would be most grateful if you could acknowledge this support in any coverage.

5. Nintendo - the worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii, Nintendo DS, Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube systems. Since 1983, Nintendo has sold nearly 2.4 billion video games and more than 420 million hardware units globally, and has created industry icons like Mario, Donkey Kong®, Metroid®, Zelda and Pokémon®. As a wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of Europe, based in Grossostheim, Germany, was established in 1990 and serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in Europe.

6. Founded in 1958, The Garfield Weston Foundation is a UK based, general grant-giving charity endowed by the late W Garfield Weston and members of his family. In the year to April 2006, the Foundation supported 1,533 applications with grants totalling over £38 million.

7. The Zochonis Charitable Trust was set up in 1977 to help a wide range of charitable causes.


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