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Articles > Rant March, 16, 2012

Do you Dare to be Digital?

Andrew Reid
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So, the renowned Dare To Be Digital 2012 competition opened up for applications earlier this year. For those of you scratching your heads, allow me to break down the outline of the competition for you.

Dare to be Digitla at Live. Photo by Peter Taylor

Dare To Be Digital is a world-renowned competition created in 1999, and is hosted at the University of Abertay Dundee between the months of June and August. For ten weeks, groups of up to five in the areas of designers, producers, artists, programmers and sound artists work with video game industry workers from anywhere and everywhere to create a functioning game prototype. The three winning teams then have their games nominated for the “BAFTA One To Watch Award” – which looks mightily brilliant on anyone’s CV!

To give you an overview of the scale of this competition, teams come form from the Scandinavian nations, Asian countries and the North American continent – pretty much covering the globe on all fronts.

What makes it so important is the things this competition delivers: experience, competition, and promise for the future. Put it this way: whether you’re a lover of shooting zombies in Call of Duty, or aiming for off-colour, rotund pigs in Angry Birds (which, incidentally, has been downloaded by one-ninth of the Earth’s population), everyone loves a game, and this is the place where your future titles are put to the test.

The experience it gives students, undergraduates and even industry workers is phenomenal. In times when it’s hard enough to keep a job, this ten week business environment is a gold mine for many people worldwide – not just here in the UK. Not only that, but it is the gateway into the video game industry for people like myself.

A bit of healthy competition ties in with the “experience” aspect. You don’t need to know anything about games to understand the competition between games companies – just like anywhere else, the gaming industry has never been more fierce and demanding. That’s why this is a perfect place to put your competitiveness to the test and deliver a new and innovative idea, so that you have that vital experience for the jump into the industry.

Success is far from guaranteed – some games and concepts are pushed to the skies whereas others dwindle and are forgotten about. Just think of something like track and field events – the 100m sprint, for example. Who can remember the 4th place of any race? It’s the same with games – ideas and concepts don’t develop and games are dropped and forgotten about.

But let me turn this on its head. Games that go all the way and win are given immense support and help to become a fully-functioning title. More often than not, groups who come from the Dare To Be Digital competition oust any challengers for the BAFTA Award and claim the top prize, and develop into “indie” businesses – creating jobs, and the future of the games industry.

So what’s the point in this? Well, with the competition open for registration now, teams will be putting themselves forward to change the face of the game industry. Will we see a challenger to Temple Run or Angry Birds? Maybe an exciting new Kinect game, or using the highly-anticipated WiiU console? Only time will tell.

As for myself, I can’t wait to see what happens.

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