Derry student's NI politics game shortlisted for Bafta Young Game Designers Awards

  • Derry student Rossa Smallman has been shortlisted for a Bafta Young Game Designer award for his computer game idea that puts the player in charge of Northern Ireland's tense political culture.

    The political situation in Northern Ireland can be difficult for those outside the country to really grasp, with the complexity of meshing nationalism and unionism and the historical context of past violence often lost on people. Throw in a dash of Brexit, issues with the Irish border, and the complexities surrounding the devolved Assembly, and it's no wonder that NI politics can be an impenetrable topic.

    What better way to get the concepts across to someone then than to let them live it? That's the hope for Derry student Rossa Smallman's game Pax Hibernia, a name that translates rather optimistically from Latin as "Ireland at Peace." Players will take charge of Northern Ireland and make decisions that will affect the country, with the goal being to maintain the fragile political stability established by the peace process.

    "I created a game where you could manage Northern Ireland by running its cabinet ministers and social and economic policies," explained Rossa, adding that "you are given the goal of peace and reconciliation." Rossa drew up a design for the game and storyboarded it, then submitted it to the Bafta Young Game Designers Awards. He was shortlisted along with 10 other finalists, and is the only finalist from Northern Ireland.

    If he wins the award, he will be given training from professional game developers and licenses to all of the professional software he'll need to start developing his idea into a playable game. Rossa has been invited to the Bafta Young Game Designers Awards in Jondon at the end of June, where he will find out whether he's won the award.

    Source: Belfast Telegraph

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