Watch 11-year-old Chesterfield boy talk about his game design ahead of national competition final

An 11-year-old schoolboy from Chesterfield has won a place in the final of a national competition for game designers.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:29 am

Sonny Henson’s bright idea for a new game has put him among the nation’s young elite.

He will find out next month whether he has scored success in the BAFTA Young Games Designers (YGD) competition where the prize will see the winning concept turned into reality.

Sonny said: “I am very excited to be a YGD finalist where I can share my game design and introduce my unusual animal creations. I have so many ideas and YGD is a great opportunity to put my ideas into practice.

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Sonny Henson is in the final of the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.
Sonny Henson is in the final of the BAFTA Young Game Designers competition.

“The possibility of my design ideas being made into a game is really exciting and I’m eager to meet the industry experts involved in developing games and, hopefully, seeing the development process in action”.

His entry, Save WaffleBurger, is a post-apocalyptic survival challenge. Envisioned for desktop/console, the game involves players having to collect resources to grow strong enough to save the island of Waffleburger from the Queen of Insectoids – the sandworm awoken by undersea drilling. Unusual animals called chardak and todak feature in the creation.

Sonny, a pupil at Hunloke Primary School in Wingerworth, set to work on the project after talking with friends in the playground about what games they would like to play.

When his aunt tipped him off about the BAFTA Young Games Designer competition by sending him a link, Sonny said: “I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get my game made into a real one.”

Sonny's sketches for his game.

Now he is waiting to learn whether his idea will win the games concept award among the nine other finalists aged 10-14 years.

The winners of four categories will be announced in a virtual ceremony on July 8, 2021, hosted by Elle Osili-Wood.

Dr Jo Twist, who chairs the BAFTA Games committee, said: “In a year when young people’s education was severely disrupted, it is fantastic to see so many wonderful ideas entered. Games have played such an important role in connecting, supporting, and entertaining people over the last year. We were so impressed by the originality demonstrated across the board and extend our congratulations to this year’s finalists.”

Sketches of the creatures that Sonny has incorporated into his game concept.