Dare ProtoPlay – Inspire, play and learn
Tomorrow, Friday August 10, is the start of Dare ProtoPlay, Abertay University’s annual computer games festival, held in Dundee’s Caird Hall.
As well as the excitement and the fun – and the 15 teams of students from around the world, all competing for a BAFTA exclusive to Dare to be Digital – this huge event inspires learning, and helps show young people the importance of studying art, maths and science.
Developing computer games is a multi-billion pound global industry, and one at which Scotland excels. But all the entertainment that games provide is built on tough maths and physics fundamentals, as well as focused artistic practice.
Last year Dare ProtoPlay welcomed 9,000 people across the Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Dundee. A huge proportion of that 9,000 were families, and every young person there was getting a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of an industry worth more to the UK than film.
The power of bringing our school children into contact with the world’s best young game developers is that it can truly trigger a eureka moment, a realisation that the team of five people who’ve built this incredible game in nine weeks are just a few years older than them.
All of a sudden, the mystery of how Angry Birds or local hit games like Bloons and iBomber were created and made it to their phone or computer is unravelled. Standing before them are people the age of a brother, sister or cousin, who have created something magical in just a few weeks. Something magical that required serious study and determination.
Never underestimate the power of positive role models, of showing to our school pupils the value of hard work and commitment – in this case either to maths, programming and engineering, or the art of animation and character design.
Making your way in today’s world and building a career requires creativity and hard work, and showing our school children tangible examples of what that hard work can achieve can be very powerful indeed.
And it doesn’t matter if they just came along to Dare ProtoPlay with their friends, or they don’t even have an interest in games. Celebrating academic achievement on such a large scale, with so much public appreciation, can’t help but fire up any young person’s passions to create something for themselves.
We’re delighted to be welcoming Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop to open Dare ProtoPlay this Friday, and to meet the Chinese, Indian and Finnish teams that the Scottish Government kindly supports to compete in Dare to be Digital each year.
We hope you can join us too – and bring along friends and family, to share in the inspiration and meet the students who have built new computer games in only nine weeks. And who are talented enough for BAFTA to give an award to, before they’ve even left university.
That’s what I call a positive role model.
Professor Louis Natanson,
Academic Director of the Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games,
Dare ProtoPlay website
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