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Expanded Dare to be Digital 2007 calls for entries

Dare to be Digital, the UK’s premier computer games design competition for students, has launched its eighth groundbreaking season with a call for entries from Scottish and Irish university students.

The contest, hosted by Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland, is back for 2007 stronger than ever and now firmly established as the leading international event in its field. The organisers are planning for 60 to 80 or more talented young game developers from across the UK and Ireland to take part this year - almost twice as many as in 2006.

This year, for the first time, Dare to be Digital will be hosted in more than one location across the British Isles. Four teams from Scotland will be selected to spend the first nine weeks of the 10-week competition based at Abertay University designing and building a fully functioning prototype of their video game idea.

In addition, Queen’s University in Belfast will host a similar nine-week programme for students from the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. More than 100 students from these territories came to a launch event at The Digital Hub, Dublin on 8 February to get more information on how to compete for one of 10 places on offer.

Meanwhile, Dare to be Digital organisers are currently working to establish a host location in England, or to host English teams in Dundee for the competition.

In the 10th week of the competition, in August, all the teams will gather in Dundee to have their talents and achievements recognised in the Dare to be Digital Awards Ceremony, which has become a highlight of the computer games industry calendar.

Dare to be Digital 2007 will also feature a completely new element in the competition: Dare ProtoPlay, a three-day showcase of all the teams’ work scheduled to take place just before the Awards Ceremony. Dare ProtoPlay will be held on 12-14 August in Edinburgh alongside Edinburgh Interactive, now established as one of the world's foremost cultural festivals for the games and interactive entertainment business. Dare ProtoPlay will enable the general public and industry experts to not only play the games, but also vote for them as well.

Elaine Russell, Abertay University’s project manager for Dare to be Digital, said: “There are now more reasons than ever for teams to get together and enter Dare. The track record of previous participants shows how very highly regarded it is within the computer games industry.

“This year, we have received many enquiries even before the application form was ready. This early sign of enthusiasm shows the increasing popularity of the competition.”

As in previous years, teams will receive financial support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists during the 10-week competition.

Dare to be Digital has established an enviable reputation for producing high-grade talent. Teams from previous years have gone on to set up their own game development companies selling products to the world’s major publishers. Individuals who have taken part in Dare have also been snapped up by major international games companies such as Lionhead, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft, as well as Dundee-based developers such as Realtime Worlds and Denki.

Contestants from last year’s competition are now working for Codemasters, BBC Scotland, Rockstar North, Electronic Arts UK and Electronic Arts Shanghai.

Elaine Russell commented: “We want to celebrate the young talent from all university courses that represent a pipeline for bringing top graduates to the video games industry. We want to do that in a way that adds value to their CVs, provides them with experience of working in interdisciplinary teams, teaches them new skills and showcases their achievements effectively. We want to ensure that there are maximum opportunities for all potential employers to evaluate the talent pool.

“We also want to inspire, promote and celebrate creativity and originality. We want our participants to have a positive economic impact when they move on from Dare to be Digital either through employment or entrepreneurial activity. Dare’s popularity is increasing year by year and has attracted many more talented individuals to apply. We have gained much industry support and wish to see more. This is a fantastic project worth supporting,” she added.

Applications for Dare to be Digital 2007 should be made via

Dare to be Digital 2007 is sponsored and supported by Abertay University, Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council, the Scottish Executive, NCR. Electronic Arts, AMD, Denki, The Digital Hub in Dublin and Belfast City Council.

Kevin Coe | alfa
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