Talented Students From Tring Among BAFTA Young Game Designers Finalists

Inel Tomlinson, Host, BAFTA Young Game Designers 2022

BAFTA has announced the 54 talented finalists, from across the UK, for the 12th nationwide BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition.

Ava McIntosh (12), Avika Mishra (11) and Bertha Muigai (12) from Tring have been selected for their game concept  ‘The Virus’ – an Xbox game with a positive message about online safety. After being sucked into a computer when  clicking on a scam link, main character Sam has to defeat the viruses and beat the hacker to escape and go back  home.

Ava McIntosh said: ‘The part of our game I’m most excited about is the final level where the player attempts to defeat the hacker, because it is the main objective of the game that the player has worked hard to get to.’

Avika Mishra said: ‘The thing I am most looking forward to is the open evening where we can showcase our game  and look at other people’s creations.’

Bertha Muigai said: ‘I am glad that we got into the finals. I think that we put in a lot of effort with this game so I hope that we might have a chance at winning.’

BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative of public events, workshops and a competition for 10-18 year-olds,  culminating in the annual YGD award ceremony to celebrate finalists and winners. This year’s winners will be  revealed at a special virtual BAFTA YGD ceremony, taking place on Thursday 30 June 2022 at 5.30pm. The ceremony will be hosted by actor, TV presenter comedian, Inel Tomlinson.

Over the last five months, 10-18 year-olds across the country have been harnessing the power of their imaginations  to create original concepts and designs for a brand new video game. Entrants have been working both in teams and  individually, at home and at school.

A virtual jury of industry professionals, chaired by Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Nick Button-Brown and Des  Gayle, have selected 40 of the most creative, thought-provoking and visually exciting games for this year’s final.

The shortlisted entries demonstrate the creative thinking and artistic prowess that underpins the game-making  process, and provide an insight into the bright and exciting future of the British games industry. The jury’s selections shine a light on the thoughts and feelings of young people today, exploring a wide range of thought-provoking and  relevant topics including mental health and anxiety, climate change, computer safety, time and space travel, and  gender identity, with gender-neutral main characters across many of this year’s entries. This year’s entries include strategic puzzles to solve, epic quests to undertake, and enemies to defeat, and are compatible with a variety of  different platforms including desktop, mobile, games consoles and even Virtual Reality.

Further details on all finalists and their games are available here. Games are available on request.

Dr. Jo Twist OBE, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and CEO of UKIE, said: ‘Congratulations to all 54 BAFTA  Young Designers finalists: each of them deserves the recognition that YGD gives. With the support of our official  partners, we are delighted to celebrate the creativity of young people who are passionate about using games to tell  stories and create experiences that tackle gender identity, mental health, and climate change. An important part of  BAFTA’s mission as an arts charity is focusing on emerging talent and YGD has become a major event in the games  industry calendar which spotlights some incredibly talented young people, some of whom go on to have careers in  the games industry.’

Actor, Comedian and BAFTA YGD host Inel Tomlinson, said: ‘I am thrilled to be hosting this year’s virtual BAFTA  Young Game Designers ceremony, where the incredible work of the 54 talented young finalists will be celebrated. All  the finalists have brought their A-game with exciting, original and compelling modern interactive experiences that  challenge the perception of this medium. I am excited to see what these exceptional young designers do next with the support of BAFTA in their future game-making endeavours. This is the future of the British games industry, and I am honoured to be able to usher through their ideas for the wider world to one day experience.’

The 54 shortlisted individuals will compete for the YGD Game Concept Award, split into two categories (10-14 years) and (15-18 years), which will go to the most original and best thought-out game idea, as well as the YGD Game Making Award, also split into 10-14 years and 15-18 years, which celebrates the coding skills used to create a  prototype game using freely available software. Winning entries will be judged on gameplay design and their suitability for the chosen games platform, with the aim of supporting accessible career pathways into game design  and thus nurturing the future generation of British gamemakers. Previous winners include Dan Pearce, Emily  Mitchell and Spruce Campbell, amongst many others, with recent finalists including the likes of David McIntosh and  Ty Rotheram.

The BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be streamed on BAFTA’s Kids & Teens YouTube channel, with highlights and clips  from the show available to watch on Twitter (@BAFTAGames) and LinkedIn. Tune in on Thursday 30 June at 5pm for the digital ceremony.

2022 winners will be featured in the prestigious Power UP exhibition, alongside some of the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades. Transferring from London’s Science Museum, the exhibition opens in  Manchester at the Science and Industry Museum on 18 June, where it will stay open until the end of 2022.

For over a decade, BAFTA YGD has given young people and educators unique access and insights into some of the  most creative minds in the industry, through competitions, mentorship, exclusive masterclasses, as well as online workshops, teaching tools, and networking opportunities.

Official Partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Creative Assembly, Criterion Games, Epic, Playstation, Tencent Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Games and Wizards of the Coast. Further information about BAFTA YGD can be found here, with details on the Official Partners available here. #BAFTAYGD