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Frensham Heights Student Wins BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition

A Year 10 student from Frensham Heights School has been announced as the winner in his category for this year's BAFTA Young Game Designers Competition.

Close up portrait of young game designer

On Thursday evening BAFTA streamed the final of the Young Games Designer of the year awards on BAFTA Kids & Teens YouTube, hosted by actor and comedian Inel Tomlinson. Arlo Freer, 15, from Herriard, was selected as the winner in the category Game Making Award (15-18) for his game ‘Bird in the Woods’.

Set in a dilapidated ruin, deep in the forest, you're a bird with a magic bow that allows you to teleport to the location of your arrows. With as few shots as possible, you need to manoeuvre your way through levels of puzzles. Instead of music, the audio background is birdsong and other nature noises. Impressively, Arlo was able to design and create his game in less than a month.

screenshot of Bird in the Woods video game welcome screen

Arlo now has access to gaming expert mentors who can help him to develop this passion further as a hobby or on to a career if he wishes. Arlo said: “I am really looking forward to being able to hear about a professional’s approach to game design – I’m sure it will be invaluable to me going forward.”

Young Game Designers is an initiative by BAFTA that inspires and supports young people to create, develop and present their new game idea to the world. A year-round initiative of public events, workshops and culminating in the Young Game Designers competition for 10-18 year-olds.

Young people across the UK conceptualised and created brand-new video games for this year’s competition. A virtual jury of industry professionals had to narrow down hundreds of entries, from both teams and individuals, to just 40 games, which were selected for the creativity of their vision, and the technicality of their execution.

Juror for Young Game Designers Alumnus and Producer Intern at Criterion Games, Joe Straker, said: “It was such a privilege to sit on this year’s jury. Having been a YGD finalist myself back in 2020, I know first-hand both how fierce the competition is, and how many doors are opened up by this opportunity.

The networking opportunities BAFTA is able to provide are second to none, and it’s amazing to play a role in selecting the next generation of talented individuals to receive this valuable support.”

The 2023 winners will be featured in the prestigious Power Up experience, alongside some of the very best video games and consoles from the past five decades. Power Up opens at the Science Museum in London on 27 July 2023.

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charlie myatt
charlie myatt
Jan 02

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