Sheffield lass named BAFTA Young Game Designers finalist

Sheffield schoolgirl Elsie Habgood has shown that being a fan of computer games can pay dividends.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 12:38 pm
11-year-old Bafta Young Game Designers finalist Elsie Habgood who has developed a game called 'Succession'. She is among nine other finalists in the Game Making Category. Picture Scott Merrylees

In her case, it has secured a place in the finals of the national BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.

Elsie, aged 11, of Ecclesall, turned her favourite pasttime into a product that is both fun and educational – inspired by the popular game Minecraft, ’Succession’ aims to teach the player about the kings and queens who ruled England from 1066 to 1901.

Elsie, who has always loved history, said: “I wanted to create a game that could teach people about that and increase knowledge and help people learn and make it easy and fun.

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“I didn’t want them to think that it’s just another educational game and they won’t play it.”

Elsie spent seven months creating the game with help from her little sister, working with a tool called Game Maker. She said the journey to completing it was not at all smooth and at one point she felt like giving up.

She said: “Sometimes, I got quite impatient when it didn’t work and got very annoyed when it took a long time to finish one part and tried to change another part but broke the part that we finished.

“But I just felt like I’d got so far that I didn’t want to give up. It was almost too good a thing to give up and the prospect of finishing it sort of pushed me forward.”

Players begin in the ‘five a day’ mode, which tests users on five different kings and queens every day. Rounds include ‘Line of Succession’, where the challenge is to arrange every monarch in chronological order. 

Elsie, who is up against nine other finalists in the Game Making Award – 10 to 14 years old category – will be travelling to London on June 29 for the awards ceremony.

However, she said winning or losing would not matter much to her as she valued the opportunity and the experience more.

She said: “I don’t particularly expect to win, but because I think the experience will be really good. 

“I just quite look forward to meeting the other people who are competing because I want to know what they’re like and why they wanted to create a game and I think that’s very interesting.”

Elsie also hopes to inspire others.

She said: “Young people always thought they can’t make games but I think they should. They need to realise they can make something better if they try.”

Elsie’s father Jake Habgood said: “I’ve always encouraged them to play games where you build things and they play together. So it’s a very collaborative in that sense and I think that’s a healthy thing to do.”

‘Succession’ is designed for Android tablets and phones and can be downloaded on the App Store.