(Image: BAFTA)

Get email updates with the day’s biggest stories

Invalid EmailSomething went wrong, please try again later.Sign upWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Your information will be used in accordance with ourPrivacy Notice.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy notice

Environment, gender fluidity, disability, bereavement, and the Covid-19 pandemic are just some of the ideas which have been shortlisted for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) Young Game Designers competition.

More than 50 game designers, some as young as 10-years-old, were named as finalists in the annual UK-wide competition, selected by a panel of gaming industry professionals.

This year’s winners will be revealed at a special virtual BAFTA YGD ceremony on Thursday at 5 pm.

The ceremony will be hosted by presenter and journalist, Elle Osili-Wood, one of the most recognisable faces in games who also hosted the BAFTA Games Awards earlier this year.

Habiballah Butt, 14, created a game to understand what grief feels like
(Image: BAFTA)

Across five months, young people have been working individually and collectively to unlock their imaginations by developing innovative game concepts and designs.

After thoughtful and extensive deliberation from virtual juries chaired by Dr Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Claire Boissiere, and Des Gayle, finalist entries were selected for their creativity and vision.

Habiballah Butt, 14, from Slough is one of the youngsters hoping to claim the top prize in the 10-14 years category with his game concept called ‘Rewind’.

Read More
Related Articles

  • Legendary comedians Jack Black, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Lauren Lapkus, and Reggie Watts party up for D&D Live for Extra Life

Rewind an innovative game to help people better understand what grief feels like and the stages of how it works.

"To keep things short, I think I'll sum up my game with a quote from J.K Rowling: 'Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery," he said.

Another budding gamer designer pitching his idea to the judges included Finley Holmes, 11, from Christchurch, Dorset whose game, Seas of Salvation, focused on the problem of plastic pollution.

Finley Holmes, 11, looked at the problem of sea pollution
(Image: BAFTA)

In Seas of Salvation, the player has to remove as much plastic from the sea as possible to help save the planet and rescue marine life along the way.

The player starts as a diver with scuba diving gear and a knife to cut animals out of plastic waste. When players have collected enough plastic they can recycle it and upgrade to better equipment and boats to collect more.

Read More
Related Articles

  • Breath of the Wild 2 new trailer shows gameplay revealed at E3 and coming 2022

Along the way, players will save sea life, collect sea bucks to spend in the item store, and learn how their actions are saving the planet.

“I am thrilled to be a BAFTA Young Game Designers finalist. My game idea was inspired by living near the sea and caring about reducing plastic waste in the ocean. I would love to inspire a new generation of young people to care about the oceans whilst playing an entertaining, fun game. I really hope I win!”

Image from the game 'Thoughtless' by Sara Szasz from Barnet
(Image: BAFTA)

In the 15-18 years game making category Sara Szasz, 18, from Barnet is hoping her game ‘Thoughtless’ will also be a winner.

In ‘Thoughtless’, you encounter the staff of a manor and help them with their troubles to progress to new rooms and come closer to solving the mystery of what's really happening.

As you progress you uncover the truth of the manor, that it's not real, well- more accurately, it's a dream, a haven someone created to escape from life.

Read More
Related Articles

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 30th anniversary: Sega head reveals why the character won't be slowing down

Each of the staff members represents a part of their personality somehow, and it's up to the player to get to the final room and try to convince the dreamer to free them all by waking up.

“I was inspired by a game known as 'smile for me'. It instantly captured me with its cartoony 2D graphics and 3D environments.

Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and CEO of UKIE, Dr Jo Twist OBE
(Image: BAFTA)

“It was a big inspiration for the art direction I went in. I also really liked the unsettling undertones it had with the story that was contrasted by the colourful exterior, an atmosphere I aimed towards in my own game”, she said.

Chair of the BAFTA Games Committee and CEO of UKIE, Dr Jo Twist OBE said she was blown away by the talent in this year’s competition.

Read More
Related Articles

  • Hades voice actor talks BAFTAs and the secrets to Supergiant’s success

“In a year when young people’s education was severely disrupted, it is fantastic to see so many wonderful ideas entered.

“Games have played such an important role in connecting, supporting, and entertaining people over the last year and it has been fascinating to see how much the wider industry has positively influenced the entrants, with a number of them citing their contemporary titles.

Latest gaming reviews

  • Mario Golf: Super Rush

  • Game Builder Garage

  • Legend of Mana Remaster

  • Dungeons & Dragons Dark Alliance

“We were so impressed by the originality demonstrated across the board and extend our congratulations to this year’s finalists.”

The BAFTA YGD Ceremony will be streamed on BAFTA’s YouTube, with highlights and clips from the show available to watch on Twitter, using the hashtag #YGD2021.