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Students vie for BAFTA nomination

A team of Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) students will showcase a prototype of a video game they have designed and made to the public in Dundee this weekend as they vie for a nomination for a BAFTA Video Games award.

The four students of BA Games Art and Design – Elbert Lim, Daniel Robinson, Dominic Beresford-Webb and Martin Reimann – formed Lunavark Studio earlier this year and their concept for a “surreal and atmospheric” iPad game called ‘ Cosmic Couch’ earned them a place among the 15 team finalists of the annual Dare to be Digital competition. The competition, which was established in 2000 and this year attracted entries from 130 teams from across the UK, Europe, China and Japan, seeks to encourage extremely talented student artists, programmers and audio designers to hone their innovation and creativity by originating and developing a prototype for a video game.

The finalist teams were selected through a live pitching process and they have spent the past two months using the facilities at Abertay University whilst receiving mentoring from industry professionals such as Sony Europe, EA Shanghai and Sega Europe creating playable demos of their games. These will be showcased to the public for the first time on Thursday as the Dare ProtoPlay games festival opens at Caird Hall in Dundee to an estimated 10,000 visitors over four days.

“The final mad rush to the finish had begun,” say the team on their competition blog. “The atmosphere’s slowly changing and tension is building up…it’s overwhelming and this absolutely gets our blood boiling with excitement, because we know at the end of this we’ll have something that we can be extremely proud of.”

This is the third year running that NUA has had a team of students reach the finals of Dare to be Digital. In 2011 NUA’s Team Swallowtail won the competition and went on to pick up the BAFTA Video Games Ones to Watch Award in 2012. Two members of the team then formed Swallowtail games and completed the development of their game ‘Tick Tock Toys’, which became a global hit after being released on Apple’s App Store in 40 countries worldwide.

Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader of BA Games Art and Design at NUA, says: “Several NUA students reached the interview stages for Dare to be Digital this year, which is in itself a great achievement. I was absolutely delighted that Lunavark Studios were selected as finalists. They worked extremely hard in the early stages of game concepting to develop a unique and original idea which is both cultural savvy and creatively exceptional. Elbert Lim the team leader has created a unique soundtrack for the game which adds yet another layer of distinctiveness to the game. I am visiting Protoplay this weekend and can’t wait to play this game.”


Promotional poster for ‘Cosmic Couch’

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