"Dare to be Digital," a yearly game design competition for students organized by Abertay University in Scotland, has revealed its winners, and three student projects will get a £2,500 ($3,910) cash prize -- plus nominations for BAFTA's Ones To Watch award.
A panel of industry experts chose the winners, revealed at this year's just-wrapped Dare ProtoPlay educational and consumer event in Scotland. The winners, teams Angry Mango, Team Tickle and That Game Studio contributed among them two mobile games and one Xbox 360 title.
Angry Mango's winner, Mush, is described as an "atmospheric 2D platform puzzler" for Windows 7 phones that uses touch screen and accelerometer technologies. Players interact with a character called Mush, manipulating his facial expressions with their fingers, shaking him until he gets angry, and moving him around his environment by tilting the phone.
Team Tickle's Sculpty is described as a "unique physics based platform game for the iPad," where users mold a malleable character in a "lush jungle environment". That Game Studio's entry, Twang, is a local multiplayer racing game for Xbox 360, aimed at all ages and promising a "cute" visual style.
A total of 75 students competed, and had 10 weeks to develop prototypes that they showed at a special ProtoPlay showcase as part of Edinburgh's Fringe Festival. This year's competition also featured a collaboration between Dare and Turner Broadcasting's Adult Swim brand, which sponsored its own award in the competition: Team Grrr!'s Bears With Jetpacks took that nod.
Finally, the students themselves chose Bazooka Duck's Epoch Defense among themselves as the winner of the Teams Choice prize. Epoch Defense also won Intel's Visual Adrenaline prize, and That Game Studio's Twang earned the audience award, voted the most popular game by the attendees.
Judges on the panel included Revolution Software's Charles Cecil, Ubisoft's Gareth Edmonson and panelists from BBC, Blitz Games Studios, Codemasters, Denki, Develop, Rare, Realtime Worlds, Rockstar North and Sony.
"The quality of this year's entries is exceptionally high," Cecil commented. "It was our opinion that the winning projects, as well as some that came close, could have considerable commercial potential -- an amazing achievement given that the students only had ten weeks in which to write the project."
"These teams enter into the industry at a time of unparalleled opportunity for individuals who have the talent and the vision to truly innovate," he added. "Beyond the constraints of mainstream publishing, Digital Distribution has created an 'Indy scene' in which smaller projects can creatively flourish through social communications rather than having to rely on traditional marketing."