The BAFTAs

Remember how I was supposed to be going to the British Academy Children’s Awards? It happened at the end of last month, but I haven’t got round to writing a post / recount until now.
As I hoped, they did have food. The meal consisted of three and a half courses:

BAFTA Menu
(I kept it)

Food:

Warm Mushroom and Leek tart with Truffle Essence and Marinated Shallots for starter.
It was ok except for the cheese on top. I sort of ate the shallots but it was mashed up into a paste so it could have been anything.

Fillet of Blackened Cod with Red Pepper Sauce served with Roasted Potatoes, French Beans and Carrots.
I ate all of this. The potatoes and beans were great and the fish was surprisingly good.

Wild Strawberry Soufflé and Black Pepper Strawberries with White Chocolate Ice Cream.
For some reason the soufflé was disgusting. Probably just because it was warm and it didn’t feel right. At least I learnt what a soufflé was, though. The ice cream was magnificent, although we only got a small scoop of it each.Coffee and Chocolates
I’d never had coffee before. It has a strange sort of taste which I couldn’t get rid of with all the sugar cubes at my disposal. I drank all of it, though, and suspect it helped me stay alert until the end of the ceremony. I liked the chocolates, obviously.I should probably also mention that we got a whole load of free things:

Free stuff:

London Hilton Pen

I often break pens so I’m trying to keep it intact

1) A London Hilton on Park Lane pen, which I recently used for my English and Maths mock exams.

2) The game Create by EA Brightlight. It looks like LittleBigPlanet for PC.

3) A chocolate BAFTA mask, or as I like to call it, a CHOCOBAFTA

4) I kept all the table name tags.All that exotic food and all those free things – that’s why it costs £300 for non-nominees to attend!

I got a chocobafta, but did my team get the Young Game Designers Award?I was wondering whether I would all week. Here’s what I had written in my student planner:

Week commencing Monday 22nd November 2010:
Saturday 27th:
7B47B play in Bath for Mum
Sunday 28th:
BAFTA Young Game Designers Award Ceremony
Notes:
I am 4D617474 Hex translated to 8 bit ASCII.
Catch up on covalent bonding
Must do MyMaths learning
I’m so flipping nervous about Sunday
Who won?
Blazing Chicken [] | Beached Whale [] | Hexadecimal (Us!) []
Did we win BAFTA YGD Award?
Yes [] | No [] (Why…?)

Week Commencing Monday 29th November 2010:
Monday:
Off School – Day after YGD Awards
Notes:
CoD 7 online level: 22
Blog international standard date format
BAFTA YGD Result Verdict: _________
So am I getting work experience @ EA?
Yep [] | Nah, find somewhere else []

Key: 7B47B Play in Bath for Mum = We went to see the play Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (neatly shortened to 7B47B) in Bath as a birthday present for my mother.
MyMaths = A boring maths learning website.
[] A tick-boxWhich tick boxes did I end up filling in? Did Team Hexadecimal win? Well, I’m sorry to say… that we did… not… come home empty handed. We had all the souvenirs in the pictures. Did we get a BAFTA? Yes. We did… get to hold one during the after-party.
Okay, okay, we failed. We were defeated by Beahed Whale Productions.

Now allow me to complain for a while:

CHOCOBAFTA

The CHOCOBAFTAs came in boxes like this

What sort of name is Beached Whale Productions? A bit depressing, isn’t it? The third team was called Blazing Chicken. Hexidecimal was the only team which didn’t encourage animal cruelty. The winning game, HAMSTER: Accidental Mario Plagarism… errm, I mean HAMSTER: (Which probably doesn’t even stand for anything) Accidental World Domination, is a cutsey 2D platformer / puzzler for the Nintendo DS. Exactly the thing that doesn’t need another 2D platformer! In the example section of gameplay I saw the screenshot for, the hamster had to eat some cake, jump onto a flexible branch and spit out the cake, sending him flying up and to the platform on the right of the screen. This encourages over-eating, spitting things out and bulimia! Perhaps the only reason this game won was because the game was much easier to make a prototype of than the other two, which were massive 3D RPGs.

Disclaimer: That was my initial reaction. I have come to respect the decisions of the judging panel because I only saw a brief description of a small part of the game. The rest of the document may have been engaging, original and not very Mario-like.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, it’s time for a…

BAFTA Nominee Ticket

It said it had to be handed in at the desk but we were allowed to keep them!

Recount

We went to London by train. At some time in the morning I arrived at the station with my father and we boarded a bus to Reading along with James and Ben – the other members of the team. I tried to get James and Ben to help compose a victory speech but they couldn’t be bothered. We’d agreed that James would be saying the speech and he seemed to think he could make it up on the spot. Crazy talk, if you ask me. I know I wouldn’t be able to.

On the other hand, we never actually needed one, and most of the winners seemed to be making theirs up as they went along. With the exception of Brian Cant, who was receiving an award for lifetime contribution and had actually taken the time to prepare one (or perhaps been given one). Anyway, we were on the coach and as we neared Reading, I spotted a building called The Hexagon. Is it the British equivalent of The Pentagon? We got off the coach at Reading station and almost caught a train to London Paddington. We just

Chocolate BAFTA Mask

The actual chocobafta

missed it, and had to stand on a noisy platform for ages waiting for the next. We almost didn’t get on that either: It was the weekend service, which meant all the trains running were extra small and we had to squeeze in. Fortunately there was space to breathe, but that was about it. We arrived at some part of Paddington Station which really didn’t look a thing like Paddington Station and navigated ourselves by foot to the Lancaster Gate hotel, where we would be staying. It had scaffolding all over the front of the building and wasn’t as posh as the Hilton, where the award ceremony took place, but it was very handy for Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. When we checked in, we were given our nominee tickets.(Not many people get one of those!)
After opening our rooms and leaving our luggage there, we went for a walk to the aforementioned gardens and park. It was a very long way to walk, but eventually we came to the christmas market. There was a ferris wheel which wasn’t the London Eye and an audio animatronic tree which kept repeating the same terrible joke. (“How does

The Royal Albert Hall

Always wondered what this looked like

Rudolph know when Christmas is coming? He looks on his calen-dear!” I think “he just knose” would have been better.) There was probably a lot of interesting stuff, but by the time we got there we were hungry and just wanted to get something to eat. My Dad and I had a hotdog whilst the others had something more healthy. Then we walked back.
Upon arrival in our hotel room I had a siesta / afternoon nap sort of thing so I wouldn’t be too tired during the ceremony, which ended at 01:30.

The Albert Memorial

Albert Memorial. Just opposite his hall.

I can’t remember whether my attempt at sleeping was successful, but I was more nervous than tired when we left to go to the awards. A taxi picked us up and we were taken to the ‘red carpet’ which was sort of metaphorical. There was a revolving door with a BAFTA mask outside and a photo background inside. When we arrived we were interviewed and photographed, then we made our way to the champagne (or orange juice) reception. That lasted quite a while, then we went to the ceremony in one of the big halls. There were round tables with name tags to say where you had to sit, waiters to give out the food and a stage where the awards were handed out. For each award a video of the nominations was shown on the screen and music played as the winner walked up to the stage. As usual with award ceremonies, the evening was hosted by one person (Barney from CBBC) and celebrities presented each award. The winners said something funny and went to sit back down again. The Young Game Designers award was presented quite early in the evening, so we weren’t kept

A ferris wheel

Not the London Eye

waiting. There were supposed to be cameras focusing on our table but I didn’t see any of them. When it was announced that the hamster game had won I must have looked very disappointed / angry for a second before I started clapping (and helping myself to their share of the bread sticks and pieces of bread we were sharing. After the ceremony was over various people came to talk to us whilst the mothers of the winning team phoned up literally everybody they knew to let them know the news. We met Matthew Lewis who plays Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films and Anthony Head who plays King Uther in Merlin. (Hope I got those names right.) We were interviewed by someone who we think was Johnny Minkley who reports on videogames for the BBC and works for EuroGamer (or something like that). We spoke to someone from Tt games, formerly Traveler’s Tales. I’ve played a few PS1 games by them.

The back of the BAFTA nominations booklet

Nintendo wished us luck at the same time as promoting it’s game.

They also make the Lego games which I love. He actually told us he was working on Lego Star Wars 3, which I have now seen a trailer for – it looks amazing. Unfortunately this was after James mistook him for someone from EA and went on about how good EA was… “because anything’s possible at EA… I’d love to have work experience there…”. We also spoke to someone from Abbertay University (it’s up in Scotland, where for some unfair reason you don’t have to pay to go to uni) which would be developing the prototype. He explained that some of the people on the prototyping team supported our game because they thought it would be fun to develop, although he probably said that to everyone. (Personally I think it would be a nightmare to program, but that may be because I’m a bit of a noob. I can imagine the feeling of satisfaction when a script works though!) By that time there was an annoying announcement which kept playing every few seconds saying “Ladies and gentlemen, the party is now well underway in the Wellington Ballroom. Please join us!”, as if the future of the human race depended on it. We waited around for a while, expecting someone from EA to come and talk to us but that never happened and we ended up standing around in the party. There was a table on

The Young Game Designers Page in the BAFTA nominations booklet

Our award’s page was near the back

which two winners had left their awards so we sneakily got a few photos of ourselves with those. There was a small dance floor with some people dancing on it but it didn’t look very fun. My dad tried to get me to go and dance because he didn’t want to on his own but I refused. Unfortunately a song by one of his favourite bands came on and I was forced to join in. I did this by standing on the edge and moving slightly. It wasn’t the easiest song to dance to and I’m not the world’s best dancer. At about a quarter to 1 (am) we went downstairs and were picked up by our taxi and taken back to the hotel. The next day we had continental buffet / self-service full English breakfast and either stayed in London for a while or went home. Dad and I tried to find the BBC place but couldn’t so we walked back to the hotel, checked out and caught a train home. (We found a building which said ‘BBC’ on it but was still under construction. We might have gone sightseeing but there was a tube strike so we were a bit limited.) The train back was less full because it was a Monday and we didn’t have to go by coach from Reading. When we got back we showed off our souvenirs and photos.

We might try to get work experience from EA or some of the other people we met. (I forgot to mention Ardman Digital). Eventually we’ll get round to writing up our design into a proper game design document and seeing if anyone wants to develop it.

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About Matt

I like writing, filmmaking, programming and gaming, and prefer creating media to consuming it. On the topic of consumption, I'm also a big fan of eating.
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