Aylesbury students reach final of national game designing competition

A drawing of the Pixel Drive computer game
A drawing of the Pixel Drive computer game

Two students from Aylesbury have reached the final of a national competition to find the game designers of the future.

Shaiyana Suresh and Hannah Bush, who are both pupils at Aylesbury High School, are among 53 finalists in the BAFTA Young Games Designers competition.

Shaiyana, 12, and Hannah, 13, submitted the game 'Pixel Trek' in the 10-14 age category of the national competition which challenges students to design a computer game which relates to a topical issue for example mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights.

Competition entries featured adventures, imaginary kingdoms, quests, and puzzles demonstrating planning, creativity and ingenuity.

The girls game ‘Pixel Trek’ challenges players to enter the world of a computer to solve puzzles building up a powerful hard drive with the aim of teaching players that bigger goals can be achieved from smaller efforts.

Shaiyana said of her selection: "I am extremely thrilled to have made the finals of BAFTA’s Young Games Designers competition

"I am very grateful to our computing teacher who told us about this wonderful competition, and I can’t wait to see all the other brilliant games!”

Hannah added: “We were absolutely speechless when we found out!

"We never thought we would be able to get this far in the competition.

"It was a really interesting process creating our concept.”

A full summary of the girls game is on the Young Games Designers website here: http://ygd.bafta.org/competition/competition-news/2019/pixel-trek

The game is based inside a computer system made up of sub-systems including display, storage, input/output and communication.

It is centred around how players interact with sub systems by exchanging necessary data.

Challenges and “lives” within each sub system are treated as different episodes of the game.

Each episode has a number of levels to progress through in order to clear the subsystem and move on.

To complete each level players have to complete a number of tasks, such as small puzzles, quizzes, path findings and various tasks.

The screen played on is touch responsive and the game is pitched at children aged eight to 13 although it is suitable for younger primary school age children.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, chair of the games committee at BAFTA said: “Games are a fantastic art form for creators to express themselves, and I am delighted to see young people tackling important topics through their design and concept entries this year.

"Their creativity and ambition for social change through the medium of games is inspiring.

"A very well deserved congratulations and good luck to all the 2019 finalists!”

The competition, which began in 2010, aims to demonstrate the creativity that goes in to game design and give young people, and their teachers, an understanding of the rewarding careers available within the industry.

The winners of both the 10-14 and 15-18 age ranges will receive a host of prizes including games, hardware, software licenses, tours of games studios and a mentor from the games industry to help them develop their skills further.

To see the full list of our young finalists and mentors go to http://ygd.bafta.org/ygd-winners-and-finalists