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Duke backs Bafta games initiative

Despite lamenting his own "useless" video gaming skills, the Duke of Cambridge was brave enough to put them to the test in front of a room of onlookers today.

William, who was visiting Bafta today to launch its Give Something Back appeal, also road-tested several games while attending Bafta's Young Game Designers Workshop.

"The UK's gaming industry is one of the strongest in the world," he said.

"Our developers are more in demand than ever before, so I hope the young people take inspiration from today's workshop, and get a taste for what a career in games might be like.

"I know that I, for one, as an enthusiastic but quite useless gamer, look forward to playing the weird and wonderful games which these young people dream up in the future."

The duke had his chance soon after his speech, trying games with titles such as Hamster: Accidental World Domination, Vacuum Panic and Smiley Dodgems, which were made by previous young design award winners.

William spent a good portion of his time trying his hand at Vacuum Panic, where the aim is to clean a bedroom before 'mum' comes in to check it.

"I'm not cleaning particularly well, I'm just going around in circles," he told designer Charlie Hutton-Pattermore as his fingers flicked over the iPad screen in front of him.

But it was not all fun and games as William, who is also Bafta president, spoke about its Give Something Back initiative.

The campaign calls on industry heavyweights to mentor and support talented young people wanting to break into the film, television and gaming industries.

"Today, more than ever, young people and career-starters need nurture and support to achieve their potential and to succeed," William said.

"This includes the chance to learn from, and work side by side with the best in the business.

"Give Something Back is a special opportunity for our supremely talented professionals to offer a small amount of their time, or money, to contribute to Bafta's learning programme."

The Give Something Back campaign also fosters young talent through its Prince William Scholarships in Film, Television and Games.

The duke met the latest recipients, Rienkje Attoh, from Crystal Palace; Sam Coleman, of Ibstone; and Sam Hughes, from Essex.

Each are receiving up to £10,000 to have their tuition paid for and will have the opportunity to be mentored by industry leaders in their respective fields.

Mr Hughes said while the money was appreciated, it was the mentoring side he was most appreciative of.

"It's life-changing," he said.

"The prestige of being backed by Bafta and Warner Bros is enough to make me confident, excited and assured about the future.

"We're getting a head start by being paired with mentors as well."

Mr Coleman said before meeting the duke he was still pinching himself.

"I was in an airport when I got the email and my girlfriend literally jumped up and started screaming," he said.

"It's obviously a huge honour."

Bafta chairman John Willis said the campaign was launched after a survey of industry professionals showed almost half knew someone already working in the industry who helped them get their big break.

Mr Willis said the campaign aimed to make creative industries available to anyone, regardless of social background.

"It should not be about who you know, but how talented you are," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph