Abertay University: Abertay University reveals finalists for Dare Academy 2022

Abertay University’s annual video games design competition, Dare Academy, is back on campus for 2022, with six teams making it through to the finals.

This year a top prize of £5,000 is on offer to the teams, who are being supported through the competition by mentors working in the industry.

The finalists will travel to London for the EGX Games Showcase at the end of September to demonstrate their finished game to industry insiders and attendees before the winner is announced at the event on the 25th of September.

The six teams were picked from a longlist of 10 who had to impress by delivering pitches to a panel of expert judges led by Keeley Bunting, formerly of Outplay Entertainment, and Dr Paul Robertson from Ninja Kiwi Europe.

Keeley has been working in the games industry in the UK and Canada since 2005 and most recently was an Executive Producer at Outplay Entertainment, where she led the development of Gordon Ramsay’s Chef Blast and other free-to-play mobile games.

Paul is a Senior Games Programmer at Ninja Kiwi, who recently moved into the industry after more than a decade in teaching games development and now works on the firm’s successful Bloons Tower Defence.

The teams are hoping each of their games will help them bag the £5,000 top prize:

Hawthorn Games is developing Mankind’s March – where you play the leader of an elite squad of intergalactic explorers who fight against aliens whilst uncovering cosmic secrets.
Non-Playable Creators meanwhile hope to impress judges with Uso -a short murder mystery game involving a fatal fire in a mansion house.
Snakebride Software are developing Up for Delivery – where players deliver cabbages throughout the game whist trying to navigate a gravity defying world.
Spicy Space Chicken’s entry to Dare Academy 2022 is Forest Tales – which is as fantasy co-op game for all ages where players must work together to defeat a common enemy.
Two Tail Fox are heading to the stars with Space War Battle Cadet Deluxe – where you’ll match coloured bullets to take down your enemies in intergalactic battle.
Finally, Yellow Crow Games are producing For Hexposure – a game where you play as a witch who runs a small potion business and befriend customers by brewing potions to solve their problems.
Each team will have until the end of July to complete their game before an industry sneak-peak networking event on campus where sponsors, mentors and industry guests get a chance to try the games out before the public.

A wider audience will then get to try out the games at EGX London, held at the city’s ExCel Centre.

Many teams who have competed in Dare Academy in previous years have gone on to found their own successful indie games studios, including Pocket Sized Hands, who have gone on to make educational games for clients such as Northumbria Police, Poppy Scotland and the University of Cambridge, and Bit Loom whose Dare entry PHOGS! went on to become a commercial success.

Dr Dayna Galloway, Head of the Division of Games and Arts said: “We’re thrilled to have such a high calibre of entries from our finalists this year and it’s fantastic to be back on campus after two years away.

“Dare Academy allows our students to get into the ways of industry working whist receiving hands-on guidance from industry mentors which will be invaluable to their development as they prepare for a career in games.

“I’m so please to have six diverse games in the final, which showcase the depth of talent and creativity across out students here at Abertay.”

Dr Paul Robertson added: “Every year Dare Academy teams demonstrate a high level of creativity, and this year is no different.

“The finalists are bringing and wide range of game design, mechanics and aesthetics to the competition. I’m excited to play the games at the conclusion of Dare and wish all the teams the best of luck.”

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