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BAFTA Young Game Designers Make Games for Social Change

Liz Lanier

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) selected 40 entries as finalists in its Young Game Designers (YGD) Competition 2019 on Monday, according to a press release.

53 budding game designers as young as 10 were named as finalists in the annual UK-wide competition, selected by a panel of gaming industry professionals. The winners will be revealed in June at a ceremony in London.

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Many of the finalist entries for 2019 deal with social issues, including climate change, transgender rights, and mental health. One of last year’s winners, Sophia Shepherd, commented on this years entries in a press release.

“All of the finalists’ games this year are of such incredible talent,” Shepherd stated. “It has been so great to see young people tackling themes such as environmental issues and representation of LGBTQ+ communities. I’ve loved my year with BAFTA YGD; meeting incredible people from the games industry and going to events has been an exciting experience I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. All the finalists have so much potential and I’m very excited to see what they all do next.”

The finalists are split into Game Concept Awards and Game Making Awards. Game Concept entries are “paper-based written game idea(s)” and the Game Making Award entries are prototype games made using free software. The two award types are split further into age groups, from 10 to 14 years of age and from 15 to 18 years of age.

The finalists’ entries can be viewed here, and some of the entries are available to download and play.

Dr. Jo Twist OBE, chair of the Games Committee at BAFTA commented in a press release.

“Games are a fantastic art form for creators to express themselves,” Dr. Twist stated, “and I am delighted to see young people tackling important topics through their design and concept entries this year. Their creativity and ambition for social change through the medium of games is inspiring. A very well deserved congratulations and good luck to all the 2019 finalists!”

The winners will receive various prizes, including “games, hardware, software licenses, tours of games studios and a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further,” according to a press release.

There is another award, the YGD Mentor Award, which recognizes one person making efforts to educate the next generation of game designers. The winning mentor will also be announced at the ceremony.

The awards ceremony will be held June 29 at BAFTA at 195 Piccadilly in London.

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