An Amersham teenager has been shortlisted for a BAFTA after her ‘refreshingly unique’ game charmed the judges.  

Sixteen-year-old Ava Rogerson from Amersham, is one of 10 finalists in the 2022 BAFTA Young Game Designers awards.

Her game Escape is up for the award in the Game Concept Award category for 15 to 18-year-olds, set to be announced in late June.

Escape is a fantasy open world game where you explore, complete quests and uncover the secrets of the mindscape, a metaphorical plane that represent being trapped in your emotions. 

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Already a skilled artist, Ava created the game concept from scratch while managing her GCSE exams before heading off to art college in Watford next term.

Ava explained: “Story wise, I just wanted to create something based on emotions, based on something a bit different.

“Design wise it was mostly scientific imagery of the games I was playing recently, like the Horizon series, which has a similar theme.

Bucks Free Press: Designs from the game created by Ava. Designs from the game created by Ava.

She was told the game industry judges found her game concept “refreshing”.

Lee Rogerson, her dad, chimed in: “They said it was very imaginative and original.”

As a finalist in the competition, Ava has already secured a BAFTA mentorship and an invitation to a networking day to chat with other finalists and brainstorm ideas with experts from PlayStation.

“I want to go into concept art, and work to help people visualise their games in different types of medias. There are so many different avenues in creative arts and media now, and I just want to be part of it.

Designing the colours for the game was crucial, and she debated between the right colour combination to “symbolise the differentiation between the different ideas and ecosystems” in the game world.

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She said: "I started just by writing notes on different game ideas, but it was near my GCSEs, so I didn’t want it to take too much time.

“I enjoyed brainstorming ideas, and think how the world would feel and look, and how someone can interact with it.”

Bucks Free Press: The nature and science inspired look of the game. The nature and science inspired look of the game.

He added: “She has a very creative imagination, it’s quite unbelievable, and to get the ideas down to paper.”

Like most creative ideas, she goes through periods of feeling less so, and at times feeling “incredibly creative”, often right when’s trying to sleep.

Lee said: “Ava’s very modest and doesn’t like a fuss, but everyone else is more impressed than she is!”

Her game was inspired by Studio Ghibli films – the makers behind the global hits such as Spirited Away and Totoro – and how they present nature, and what she learnt in biology class about cells and neurons. 

“Some of the dinosaur documentaries back in the day greatly illustrate different worlds of life, and I feel strongly about biology and how different times in our planet are presented in the media, and that inspired my design and ideas.”

Ava is set for a busy summer before starting art college as she will sell her art at Galleria on the Green in Chalfont St Giles.