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News University hopes to 'pair up' in games industry awards

A computer game created by Staffordshire University students in just 48 hours has been shortlisted for a national award

Pair Up is shortlisted for Best Student Game
Image: Pair Up is shortlisted for Best Student Game

I’m delighted for Staffordshire University to be shortlisted for Best Educational Institution and all the staff are incredibly proud that our students have been recognised for their game Pair Up. It is a well-deserved honour.

Dr Bobbie Fletcher, Head of Department Games and Visual Effects

Arcade style game Pair Up is shortlisted for Best Student Game at the Grads in Games Awards 2020.

Staffordshire University is also shortlisted in the Best Educational Institution category, which recognises the universities and courses actively doing the most to help students into the games industry.

BSc (Hons) Computer Gameplay Design and Production students Joe Coulson, Dan Bond Andrew Pearson, and Sabrina Lang came up with their game when Staffordshire University hosted the UK’s largest Global Games Jam. The event challenged 222 students to develop games in just two days based on the theme 'Repair'.

Joe, 31 from Congleton, said: “If there's one thing we've learned from our last three years developing games, it's that our first idea is rarely the best one, so we took a few hours to brainstorm ideas and build a few prototypes.”

They settled on Pair Up, a co-op balancing game featuring construction workers José and Jim who must scale a building that needs to be repaired. Along the way, players must account for the wind and errant pigeons which threaten to blow away their cargo of supplies.

Dan, 21 from Biddulph, said: “It feels great to be shortlisted! It was surprising to see something we did in such a short amount of time reach the heights it has and I’m really proud to see it sat among the other great nominees which made the shortlist.”

Sabrina, 26 from Milton Keynes, added: “We worked well as a team together, building a game that was recognised for our efforts. Having Pair Up sit next to other nominees shows our reliability as Games Designers.”

The team were encouraged to enter the game into the Grads in Games Awards 2020 by their lecturer Nia Wearn and winners of the competition will be announced next month.

Andrew, 20 from Hampshire, said: “I’d like to extend my thanks to Nia and all our lecturers for giving us the confidence to even attempt the competition. Moving forward it means we have a piece of work that, even if we don't win, was recognised from a field of our contemporaries at a national level.”

Dr Bobbie Fletcher, Head of Department Games and Visual Effects added: “I’m delighted for Staffordshire University to be shortlisted for Best Educational Institution and all the staff are incredibly proud that our students have been recognised for their game Pair Up. It is a well-deserved honour.

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