The British Academy of Film and Television Arts, BAFTA, has announced the finalists in a nation-wide game design competition for 10-18 year-olds. The 40 young hopefuls, who were selected by a jury of industry experts, will attend a special awards ceremony at BAFTA’s headquarters, 195 Piccadilly in London, where the winners will be announced on Saturday July 25th.

The BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, in association with Nominet Trust, aims to inspire the game designers and game-makers of the future by giving young people the chance to design and create their own game and develop it with industry professionals.

The initiative, now in its fifth year, presents awards in two main categories: The Game Concept Award, for entrants who submit a written idea for a new game; the Game Making Award, for entrants who submit a game they have made using computer software. The winners of both strands, in both the 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges, will receive a host of prizes, including further development of their game with industry professionals.

The finalists hail from across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. They include individuals who are shortlisted in both categories, and a second-time finalist from 2014. For a full list of the finalists, and to play the games in the Game Making category, go to here.

For the first time this year, BAFTA is presenting a YGD Hero Award for support for young games designers by an industry professional or development team. The winner of this new award, selected by the BAFTA Games Committee, was announced as Minecraft; Mojang’s widely popular, BAFTA-winning, block-building construction game.

Another new award for 2015, the YGD Mentor Award, will be presented to an individual, nominated by the public, involved in the education of young game designers. The winner in this category will be announced at the Awards ceremony in July.

Harvey Elliott, Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, said: “The quality of entrants to the BAFTA YGD competition increases every year, and this year’s finalists are amongst the best young game designers in the country. We look forward to celebrating their success at the awards ceremony in July. We’re also very proud to announce Minecraft as the first recipient of the YGD Hero Award. Minecraft’s achievements in the games industry, as well as its support for millions of creative people of all ages, are truly impressive. We hope the game and its development team serve as an inspiration to all young games enthusiasts as they progress their future careers in our industry.”

BAFTA YGD competition is part a year-round programme of activity which gives young people and educators unique insights into the games industry and access to the creative minds behind some of their favourite games. Support includes: a dedicated website; a web series, that takes a light-hearted look behind the scenes of the games industry; a range of teaching resources; an online ‘feedback hub’ where young people can submit ideas or questions to a games expert; and live workshops around the country. In 2014, Dan Pearce, a BAFTA YGD winner in 2010, was nominated for a BAFTA at the British Academy Games Awards.

Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder – is headline partner of the initiative, working with BAFTA to develop additional schools-focussed activity addressing the under-representation of women in the games workforce. Other supporting partners of BAFTA Young Game Designers include: Bethesda Softworks, Criterion Games (an EA Studio), Google, Jagex, King, Pinewood Studios Group, SEGA, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Unity, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Abertay University supports the development of the games of the winners of the BAFTA YGD competition.

BAFTA YGD Awards ceremony – event details:

Saturday 25 July at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London:

  • 13:00: Red carpet arrivals and reception, including display of finalists’ games
  • 14:00: Ceremony commences
  • 16:00: Ceremony ends