Sault Ste. Marie – Four Algoma University  students have won the approval of critical judges and qualified for the Dare to be Digital  video game design competition being held this June to August in the United Kingdom. Sunny Atwal, Eric Stock, Pedro Melendez, and Chris Iaconis from Algoma University and one student from the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland have been accepted to take part as a team in the annual competition.
Dare to be Digital bills itself as the United Kingdom’s premier video game design competition for students. Now in its tenth year of operation, Dare to be Digital is an annual summer event that allots teams of students ten weeks to design and build a video game prototype. At the conclusion of the ten weeks, the teams are brought together at a showcase event where their games are evaluated by industry experts. The competition is open to all university students across the UK and also regularly attracts international competitors from nations such as China, India, Japan and Malaysia.
Tommy Brett is the Academic Coordinator for the Master of Science in Computer Games Technology program at Algoma University. As a graduate of the University of Abertay Dundee in Scotland (which founded Dare to be Digital in 1999), he is well-versed in the competition and the opportunities that it provides.
Says Brett, “For Algoma U students, Dare provides a very rare and valuable experience: the chance to live and work abroad for an extended period of time while taking part in the competition. As well, there is the chance to learn about the gaming industry from an entrepreneurial perspective and also to network with and learn from leading figures in the UK industry.”
2009 will not be the first foray to the competition for students from Algoma University. In 2006 the Algoma U team of Log2n (comprised of Gavan Acton, Mike Biocchi, Spencer Congdon and Nathan Inch) became the first team from North America to take part in the competition. Flux, the game they developed during the course of the competition, received an award for “Greatest Creativity and Innovation.” Team leader Gavan Acton was also recognized with an award for “Best Team Leader.”
“With the accomplishments of the Log2n team in 2006, the bar has been set high for all future entrants from Algoma University,” says Brett. “That said, I have a lot of confidence in the knowledge and abilities of the students who will be taking part this year and I am certain that they will be great ambassadors for their school, their city and for Canada itself at this international event.”