Playing Up: Young Game Designers Launch
The recognition of video games as fertile ground for creative and technical skills was starting to grow, and an independent report into the skills needed for school leavers and graduates to fully engage with the UK's video games and visual effects industries was now underway (co-written by UK games legend and BAFTA games committee member, Ian Livingstone). BAFTA responded with the launch of its Young Game Designers initiative, encouraging 11-16-year-olds to design and create their own game.

The inaugural winners were a team of three known as Beached Whale Productions for their game concept HAMSTER: accidental world domination. One of the winning team members, 16-year-old Dan Pearce, has since enjoyed an impressive career trajectory, becoming a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit in 2013 and earning a BAFTA nomination for Debut Game with Castles in the Sky the following year.

In 2014, the YGD initiative introduced two categories: Game Concept and Game Making – now awarded at a bespoke ceremony at 195 Piccadilly. The following year, the YGD Mentor Award and YGD Hero were introduced, recognising work by adults to support young game creators in the UK.

Image: Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis with inaugural YGD winners Sam Taylor (16), James Cook (13) and future BAFTA Breakthrough Brit and BAFTA nominee Dan Pearce (16) in 2010 (BAFTA Archive/Richard Kendal)

BAFTA Archive/Richard Kendal

Video: Footage from YGD awards and events, featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and past YGD winners.