A local video game developer has beaten tough competition to win a BAFTA Children’s Award for controversial sex education game ‘Privates’.
Dan Marshall and his studio Size Five Games, based in Norbiton near Kingston, saw off competition which included Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Dream School/Britain’s Dream Teachers’ project to claim the prestigious award in the Education – Secondary category.
Mr Marshall said: “I was completely and utterly gobsmacked.
“I’d managed to convince myself there was no chance ‘Privates’ would win so when it did I was simply dumbfounded.”
Contending in the same category were BBC Learning entries ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Wanna Be A Rockstar’, together with the Channel Four competition to find the country’s best teachers in association with Jamie Oliver’s ‘Jamie’s Dream School’.
‘Privates’ puts the player in the boots of a Marine squad battling against diseases of a sexual nature as indicated by the game’s title. The game, which was commissioned by Channel Four Education, is part of an original strategy aimed at delivering the message of sex education to teenagers.
Jo Twist, Commissioning Editor for Channel Four Education, said: “We are delighted with this win because Size Five Games represents the potential of young, small, start-up games companies.
“It shows that you don’t have to be a huge developer to get such a commission or awards win: you just have to be good.”
Initial plans to release the game on both PC and Xbox 360 ran into difficulty last year when Microsoft refused to put the game on their console due to the overtly sexual content.
“The original design document basically broke a vast number of Xbox’s rules”, Mr Marshall said, “I sent a copy to the very nice people at Xbox who loved it, but decided that the rules needed to hold steady.”
While there are currently no intentions to produce a sequel Size Five Games are currently hard at work on their next title, ‘The Swindle’.
“It’s still very early in development”, Mr Marshall said, “but it’s shaping up to be something pretty special.
“The idea is that you’re a crook who breaks into all these big facilities and hacks their computers.”