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Three student teams reach international video game competition finals

Of the 15 teams of students to reach the finals of international video games development competition Dare to be Digital, three are made up of students from Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). The teams successfully pitched their innovative video game concepts to game industry panels and are now in the running to win the competition and a prestigious BAFTA award.

Dare to be Digital finalists with Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman (L)

Dare to be Digital finalists with Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman (L)

Dare to be Digital invites university students to form teams of five artists, programmers and audio creatives to develop prototype video games. The finalists utilise the facilities at Abertay University in Dundee for 7 weeks in the summer to develop a prototype of their game, where they are mentored by international game studios culminating in a public display of the prototypes at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. Three teams will be awarded prizes of £2,500 and selected to form the nominations for the Ones to Watch award at the 2015 BAFTA Games Awards.

Pitch video for Team Insert Imagination

Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader of BA Games Art and Design at NUA, says: “Dare to be Digital is the premier international video game development competition for university students. This year we’ve achieved unprecedented success, with three NUA teams and their game concepts reaching the final 15 of the competition. Over 160 teams from Calcutta to California applied this year and the positive results confirm our place as a leading international provider of specialist education in video games. Our student team game concepts are exceptionally creative, innovative, well researched, and excellently communicated to competition judges in Dragon’s Den style pitches. Their success in reaching the final 15 further validates the high level of professionalism, deep knowledge of art and culture and extensive specialist knowledge in game development that the course at NUA is known for.”

Pitch video for Team A Fox Wot I Drew

NUA has had a team reach the finals for the past four years and in 2011 its Team Swallowtail won the event and the BAFTA award. The team’s game ‘Tick Tock Toys’ became a global hit, receiving promotional features on Apple’s App Store in 40 countries worldwide including Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand. Its Team Leader Sophia George is currently the first Games Designer in Residence for the V&A Museum. Last year’s finalists Lunavark, with their game Cosmic Couch, won the Judges Artistic Awards and were selected by Sony’s XDev Studio Europe, where they are current developing new IP which will be launched and published later this year.

Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of NUA, says: “We’re incredibly proud of our Games Art and Design course which has consistently performed well in Dare to be Digital, so to have three teams reach the finals is immensely gratifying and reflects the incredible support for students provided by the course team. All our courses are committed to developing high levels of graduate employability and the historic success of NUA students in this competition has led to employment with AAA studios in the industry.”

Pitch video for Team Desk Jockeys

The three teams to make the finals are: Team Insert Imagination, which includes NUA students Robin Silcock, Jessica Magnus and Shaun Slade who will prototype a game called ‘Kuria’; Team Desk Jockeys, including NUA students Jonathan Pace, Lee Gregory, Dexter Camilleri and Pieter Jollans who pitched a game called ‘Reshuffle’; and Team A Fox Wot I Drew, which is developing a game called ‘Baum’ and includes NUA students Kai Creedon and Dominic Littler plus graduate Cian McNabola.

The teams will spend 7 weeks in Scotland (fully funded) from 16 June to 6 August developing prototypes of their games with industry mentors. These will be exhibited and judged at the ProtoPlay event over the weekend of 7 to 10 August, with winners announced on the final day. The Ones to Watch award will be announced at the BAFTA Games Awards in 2015.

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