Student gamers can dare to be digital


18 Feb 2004

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Irish students keen to turn their interest in games into a career can now enter an international competition, ‘Dare to be Digital’, which will give them the chance to develop their ideas and present them to a panel of experts. The prize includes a £5,000 sterling fund and the possibility to work in the games industry.

A website for the Irish leg of the competition has gone live at www.daretobedigital.ie. It provides the latest information on the competition, contains an online application form, and features a forum where prospective entrants can discuss games ideas and chat with potential team members. The deadline for entry to the Irish competition is 12 noon on 29 March 2004.

This year’s competition is open to current higher or further education students and recent graduates from four countries: Scotland, Republic of Ireland, Korea and Malaysia. The teams will compete for a prize fund of £5,000 sterling (circa €7,400).

The winners will also receive follow-up support aimed at turning their prototype game into a commercial product. Last year, members from the two winning teams were recently hired by leading games developer Electronic Arts having presented their ideas to the company.

The University of Abertay in Dundee, which has run the competition since 2000, will host the final this summer. The winners of the Irish heat will travel to the university to develop their game proposal over a 10-week period under the guidance of gaming industry experts and to compete in the International Dare to be Digital competition. The Irish team will also receive support from Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and The Digital Hub, the organisations hosting the local part of the event. The team representing Ireland will be paid for their work in developing their project while in Scotland.

The Daretobedigital.ie site is designed to help students to enter the competition. It includes information on the contest and future Dare to be Digital events, as well as FAQs. Users can sign up for regular updates via an online newsletter.

The rules state that students must submit their games ideas in teams of five and each team must include at least one creative, one technical and one business management person. The organisers are encouraging collaboration between colleges as they accept that these diverse skill sets may not all exist in one educational institution. For that reason, it hopes that potential entrants to the competition will use the forum on the website to collaborate with others.

In Ireland, a shortlist of six teams will be interviewed by a high-profile judging panel in late April. The winning team will then represent Ireland in the international competition. The judging criteria will be based on team skills and abilities; clarity of application; market potential of product; creativity of product and ambition.

By Gordon Smith