Teenage talent Jesse Waymont is celebrating after winning a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award.
The 13-year-old, from Crawley, won the Game Concept Award in the 10-14 years category at a ceremony held at BAFTA’s HQ in London.
Jesse was one of four aspiring game designers aged between 10 and 18, as well as an inspirational teacher, who were all honoured with BAFTA YGD awards.
Jesse’s game concept entitled ‘I Seek Death’ won the Game Concept Award. Jesse’s winning concept is an immersive game in which, after the death of her father, seven-year-old Frankie sets out on a journey to find Death and ask him to send her dad home. Her story is told in chapters representing the five stages of grief.
Jesse said: “It’s incredible to be a BAFTA Young Game Designer winner. I got very emotionally invested in my game and my characters. I think serious issues should be addressed in games so people can relate and feel understood.
“I got into gaming through Minecraft and had a fantasy that I could make it myself. I saw the opportunity to enter this competition just three days before the deadline and spent that time frantically drawing out my ideas and texting friends for advice. When I heard my game concept called as a winner I was so surprised.
“My advice to others who are thinking of entering is definitely enter, don’t think you aren’t good enough to enter, make your dream.”
In a written message to those attending and the young finalists, HRH The Duke of Cambridge and President of BAFTA, said: “This year the entries have an overwhelming social purpose to them, focusing on issues including mental health, climate change, conservation, disability, bereavement, and transgender rights. Many of the game ideas strive to educate players of all ages on the social issues they address, hoping to prompt real change in people’s lives. I think it is fantastic to see young people using games to express themselves and purposes that they identify with.”