14-year-old schoolboy from Sanderstead wins a BAFTA

Andrew Ah-Weng, a 14-year-old from Sanderstead, has won a BAFTA, as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts yesterday revealed the 2021 winners of its Young Game Designer Awards.

Andrew Ah-Weng: BAFTA-winner at just 14

Ah-Weng’s game, called Getting Out Of It, took top prize in the 10- to 14-year-olds’ Game Making category.

There was also a winner in the Mentors’ category for Raynes Park teacher Richard Harris.

BAFTA YGD is a year-round initiative for 10-to-18-year-olds that includes public events, workshops and a competition that culminates in yesterday’s BAFTA ceremony that celebrates the achievements of the finalists and winners.

There were 51 finalists competing for four awards over two age groups. Ah-Weng’s Game Making recognised his coding skills used to create a prototype game using readily available software.

Ah-Weng used Gamemaker Studio 2 to create a short platform game “where you only have a jetpack and a rope swing”. It was the second year he had entered the game in the YGD awards, although this time around he had focused on refining his work.

The winning entries were selected after extensive deliberation by virtual juries chaired by Dr Jo Twist OBE, Jodie Azhar, Claire Boissiere and Des Gayle. BAFTA said the winners “were chosen for their gameplay design and suitability for the chosen games platform, as well as their creativity and vision”.

In addition to the prestigious BAFTA YGD Award, winners will be given the opportunity to build on their games ideas through a robust mentorship scheme, as well as an insight into a career in games, and unique access to the industry as a whole. As well as support for further development of their game, winners also receive a host of prizes, including workshops, masterclasses, networking opportunities, games and merchandise.

The mentoring award went to Harris, who works as the head of design at Raynes Park High School.

Design guru: Richard Harris is a popular teacher at his school

Harris has led a range of science and technology clubs at the school and introduced game design into the main curriculum, where he curated a retro Gameboy exhibition to demonstrate that simple games can make a significant impact and, in turn, helped pupils create a diverse selection of games.

While at the school, Harris has also established connections with businesses such as Apple and the National Video Game Museum, creating opportunities for learning and future work placements.

Harris were commended for his “outstanding contribution to mentoring aspiring young game designers and offering supportive and accessible career pathways into the industry”.

Amanda Berry, the chief executive of BAFTA, said: “For over a decade, the BAFTA Young Game Designers initiative has inspired, supported and promoted the future generation of games creators in the UK.

“We are pleased to announce this year’s winning entries that encompass an array of ambitious young game innovators, demonstrating a breadth of multi-disciplinary skills.

“After an incredibly challenging year for education, we are delighted to see the return of the Mentor Award category that recognises individuals responsible for harnessing young talent. My congratulations to all!”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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