York St John 22062023

Student triumphs at industry games design competition

Games Design student at York St John University wins first prize for his game “Auntie Gravity” at the Game Republic showcase.

James Kilduff, a third-year Games Design student at York St John, scooped the top prize in the Best Level Design category at the Game Republic student showcase for his final year project game. The competition is renowned for its rigorous selection process and attracts some of the brightest talents in the gaming industry. It serves as a platform for aspiring game designers to showcase their innovative creations and gain recognition from industry professionals and peers.

The showcase, held at the University of Bradford, saw seven university and college teams compete in seven categories. James’s winning entry, Auntie Gravity, captivated the judges with its light-hearted and quirky 2D platform design. The game revolves around the manipulation of gravity and follows a perilous quest to retrieve the protagonist’s beloved and mischievous pet cat called Flux. Designed to be played on an arcade machine, Auntie Gravity features an intuitive and simplistic control set, enhancing the overall gaming experience.

Andy Sandham, Subject Leader and Senior Lecturer in Games Design at York St John University said:

“James winning best level design at Game Republic once again reflects the talent and dedication of our students and teaching staff on the Games Design course. This achievement not only gives James a direct route to games industry contacts and job opportunities, but also highlights how Games Design at York St John prepares students with relevant and up-to-date industry skills.”

James Kilduff added:

“I designed Auntie Gravity to be played on an arcade machine, so it has an intuitive and simplistic control set. Playing it via the arcade cabinet really gives it an ’old school’ feel which is something I wanted to emulate. A lot of modern console games do not replicate that feeling of using a joystick and large flashing buttons!

“I’m honestly blown away by this award win and have been on cloud nine since! When you pour your heart and soul into a project for a long period of time, the recognition means the world to me. I’m hoping the Game Republic award will help me to get noticed in such a competitive industry filled with exceptionally talented individuals.”

James’s love of gaming started at a young age and despite entering a different career after finishing school, he was drawn back to design in later life and joined York St John University via their mature entry route in 2020. His win at the Game Republic showcase is testament to his dedication to his passion and serves as a springboard for his future career in the gaming industry.

Game Republic is celebrating its 20th Anniversary as the largest industry-led games business network in the North of England. The network supports and promotes the Yorkshire and Northern England games industry, with over 1,000 developers and company members. The annual student showcase promotes upcoming student talent and provides networking opportunities for final year students to gain useful contacts which often lead to employment.

Games Design is a three-year undergraduate degree at York St John University. Find out more on our course pages. Read about all the winners at the Game Republic showcase competition.