Today is the BAFTA Video Games Awards (tune in online at 8.45pm), or BAVGAs if you prefer. I wish all the nominees in all the categories the very best, particularly the Ones to Watch category which is connected to Scotland’s very own Dare to be Digital competition.
It’s great that BAFTA are supporting an industry with such a great and strong tradition in Britain, and the categories largely make sense (the one exception is “Social Network Game”, which I think should just be “Browser Based Game”). However, I can’t help but think there’s a rather giant omission from the category list, given BAFTA’s stated aim of “developing and promoting the art forms of the moving image in the UK”: there should be a category for “Outstanding British Game“.
Why do I think this? First of all, just looking at the nominee list, you can’t really tell which games were made in the UK. Second of all, the film awards have an “Outstanding British Film” category, specifically designed to “recognise initiative and endeavour in British film, aiming to reward outstanding and original British filmmaking which shows exceptional creativity and innovation.” I believe games should be recognised and rewarded in the same way, and celebrating British games and their contribution to the industry at large is absolutely within the remit of BAFTA.
The other benefit is that having a category designed to reward British endeavours, perhaps more British games in general would choose to nominate themselves.
So what would make a British game? In the same way as film, an eligible game would be one that has significant British creative involvement and passed some sort of cultural test (probably derived from the film equivalent). Given that the nominees are taken from what’s left after the first round of voting (so are generally nominated for other categories), here’s my take on the nominees for such a category this year:
- Kinectimals (Microsoft Games Studios/Frontier Developments Ltd)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment/TT Games)
- Football Manager 2011 (SEGA/Sports Interactive)
- F1 2010 (Codemasters/Codemasters Birmingham)
- Napolean Total War (SEGA/Creative Assembly)
- DJ Hero 2 (Activision Blizzard UK Ltd/Freestylegames)
Not a bad line up, really. And I’d pick Kinectimals as the winner. Congratulations!
I’d love to see this category added to the awards from next year. It would greatly help raise awareness with the general public (games playing and otherwise). In the meantime, here’s to some worthy winners tonight!