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Last year three girls from Afon Tâf High School won the inaugural Microsoft Kodu Kup. This national game development competition saw the pupils – Kayleigh Bennett, Holly Bridges and Shauna Coates, also known as Artemis Games – beat stiff competition from all areas of the United Kingdom.

From 154 entries, to 11 finalists, to eventual winners, the girls’ achievement is remarkable. But, the story does not end there! Since their success the girls have been in demand: they are this year’s sole UK representatives of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative; they have represented Microsoft by promoting Kodu at the National Skills Show in Birmingham.

But they never thought that they would get invited to America, to San Francisco and be guests at WE Day.

WE Day celebrates the youth movement for local and global change. It is the largest event of its kind, bringing together tens of thousands of youth and educators with celebrities, musicians and heroes sharing their inspirational stories. This year the girls will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Selena Gomez, Magic Johnson and Orlando Bloom. They will have their chance to present their game to an international audience, raising the profile of women in the computer games industry and showing the talent that Afon Tâf and Merthyr Tydfil have to offer.

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If you are looking for guidance on producing your students games for this year’s Kodu Kup then look at the summary of the back story that the girls created for their winning game.

The girls’ game ‘The Dark Side of Mars’, explored the complexities of the human psyche and emotional wellbeing. The premise of the game involves a failed rescue mission to Mars. After a crash landing, the captain realises he is the lone survivor, and there is something out there chasing him. As he overcomes various challenges, he encounters the souls of his crew members and realises that the monster chasing him is ‘Regret’. His mission is to come to terms with his responsibility for their deaths by rescuing the souls. However, the girls were not just required to design and create this complex game, they had to present and promote their game to a large audience, including the tough judging panel comprising of some of the UK’s most revered game development experts.

You can download the winning game ‘Dark Side of Mars’ from Kodu Game Lab

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