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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Guitar game takes design prizes
Screenshot from Ragnarawk (Voodoo Boogy)
The magical guitar is infused with the soul of a rock-god

A video game that uses a magical guitar to fight evil has won a prize in one of the UK's most respected game contests.

Called Ragnarawk the game was created by a five-strong student team for the Dare to be Digital design competition.

Run by the University of Abertay Dundee, it gives 12 teams of student designers 10 weeks to produce working prototypes of a game.

Winners get cash prizes and their game entered for the prestigious Bafta One to Watch award.

Rock gods

Created by the Voodoo Boogy team, Ragnarawk won the Commercial Potential prize in the competition. It also won the coveted Audience Award based on votes given during a showcase at which the public could try out all 12 Dare to be Digital entrants.

The prize for Innovation and Creativity went to the Phoenix Seed team for its Bear Go Home game which involves guiding a cuddly bear through a fantasy land.

The award for Use of Technology went to the Carebox team for its ClimbActic in which players use the abilities of two very different characters to climb sheer cliffs and scale mountains.

All three winners get a cheque for 2,500 and get their game automatically entered in the Bafta competition that will be awarded on 23 October.

Gamers trying out prototype titles, U of Abertay Dundee
The public got the chance to play the prototype games
Malcolm Brown, team leader for Voodoo Boogy, said the idea for Ragnarawk was born two years ago.

"We're big fans of role-playing games and rhythm games," he said, "though originally it used a dance mat and you danced at your enemies."

But, he said, the growing popularity of games using a guitar-shaped controller prompted them to change tack.

"There have been a number of games that use a guitar controller in Japan particularly but they are only just hitting Europe," he said.

The addition of artist and accomplished guitarist Finlay Sutton to the team cemented their decision to create a "guitar-PG", said Mr Brown.

The team was surprised to win the prize, said Mr Brown, because several other games in the Dare to be Digital contest gathered as much interest during the public showcase.

Interest in the title might also mean that it becomes available for download soon. "We're discussing that in a couple of days," he said.

The cash prize would be put to good use, said Mr Brown: "You can't spend it on food, you have to buy yourself a treat."

Dare to be Digital is now in its eighth year and in 2007 it doubled the number of contestants taking part and ran competitions in several regions prior to the final.


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