Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interested in computer games? Get yourself to Dare Protoplay in Dundee, today or tomorrow

We spent yesterday in Dundee, at the Caird Hall, where, for the third year in a row, Anna was a Junior Judge in the Dare Protoplay competition. This is the culmination of 10 weeks' slog for the 15 competing 5 member teams in Dare to be Digital. This is a competition run by the University of Abertay in Dundee, the hothouse of Scotland's vibrant gaming industry in which these teams are locked up for 10 weeks and mentored by industry experts as they develop a new game.

This game is then judged by the public and by industry experts during the 3 days of Dare Protoplay. You have to have registered to judge in advance, but if you haven't, entry is free and you still get to play all of the games.

Now, I say computer games, but, really, only 4 of the games on offer were for traditional PCs. Last year there was one for the iPad, this year there are 4, there are 4 for the Kinect and 3 for mobile phones. It was one in the latter category, Lucky Ghost, which fascinated Anna. This is one where, if I have understood all the techy stuff correctly, your PC becomes the server and the whole family/student house/party can play along by using their smartphones, iPod Touches or iPads as controllers via wifi. It certainly fascinated Anna, and here's one of Team Yummy Tummy's development videos.

My absolute favourite was a game which I really hope makes it to the market because there is no end to the time I could waste playing it. For the iPad, it's called Tick Tock Toys. The colours and artwork are just gorgeous and it's a clever, compulsive game with clear commercial potential. It's all, basically, about getting a clockwork toy from one end of the room to the other - but, although it looks simple, it isn't. It would suck in people like me, who don't really play many games as well as brighten up the commuting journeys of many. Here's their Facebook page and their most recent video.

The top 3 teams in Dare, announced on Sunday, will compete for BAFTA's one to watch award to be announced in March 2012.

But if you are at a loose end this weekend, and you like a game or two, get yourself to the Caird Hall. It's open until 6 today and the results will be announced late on Sunday afternoon.

One of the issues for me is that there are comparatively so few women in gaming and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of prospect of that changing any time soon - but that's the subject for another post.

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