At a gleaming ceremony held in at Christchurch Spitalfields in London, the prize for Best Educational Initiative and Talent Development was awarded to LSBU's Enable Gaming project. Fellow contenders in the category included industry heavyweight Sony's PlayStation First initiative, as well as fellow higher education institutes Staffordshire University and University of the West of England.
Enable Gaming, set up by Siobhán Thomas, LSBU's Course Director for BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design and Development, in partnership with the charity Lifelites, brings computer gaming to disabled children in hospices. LSBU students were commissioned to develop computer games for children at all 54 baby and children's hospices in the British Isles. Due to the range of disabilities suffered by the children, all games had to be designed with accessibility and specialised equipment needs in mind.
Enable Gaming's incorporation of technology, creativity and diversity impressed the TIGA panel. Following the ceremony, Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said: “At our largest ever TIGA Awards we highlighted excellence in games and business, education and technology, diversity and creativity.
“I would like to say a huge congratulations to all of our winners, whose innovation, creativity and excellence is driving the UK games industry forward. The judges and I have never seen such a high standard of entrants than in 2016, which made some decisions incredibly difficult.”
TIGA is a key network for UK games developers, digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry. With a focus on strengthening the games sector, they campaign for the industry, champion the industry in the media, and help their members commercially.
The BA/BSc (Hons) Game Design and Development course has been long recognised by the industry for its excellence, and its history of producing highly employable graduates. LSBU alumni and students have been in strong demand from companies such as TerraTech and Playniac, who were also honoured with TIGA shortlisting. Other winners on the night included Channel 4, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Creative Assembly's Total War: Warhammer, and the latest instalment in Naughty Dog's popular Uncharted series.
Siobhán, who was named one of the Top 30 Women in Games in 2016, commented: "Receiving this award shows the immense value the industry is placing on the work we do at LSBU. We're at the forefront of tech advances, constantly pushing the boundaries of what games education is.
"Students who study at LSBU get a truly innovative learning experience. For us, innovation involves prioritising accessibility and diversity in all the work done across the course. It's rewarding to be able to say that the games we make truly change people's lives for the better."