According to Michael Hallissy of the The Digital Hub, the quality of entries is impressive. “Thus far, we’ve only had a cursory look at the entries in conjunction with Abertay, but they all look very good. We’re very happy with the quality of the applications,” he says.

Given that 2004 is the first time that game enthusiasts in Irish third-level institutions have had an opportunity to enter this competition, devised by the University of Abertay in Dundee, the limited amount of entrants was to be expected. “It’s the first year we have held Dare to be Digital so it’s a pretty new concept, but only one team will get to compete in Scotland – less competition means that there is a good chance for all who applied.”

Held in the Digital Hub, the April 23rd judging event will interview each of the seven teams, scoring entrants not only for their work to date, but also for their team-member composition, the clarity of their application, the market potential of their product, and their creativity and innovation. “In the interview you discover whether or not they really know what they’re talking about,” adds Michael.

The interview panel will consist of a wide range of expert opinion from within the industry:
· Charlie Rohan, Head of Design, NCR
· Julia Bond, Games Producer, BBCi
· Michel Buch-Andersen, Microsoft (Dublin Office)
· Professor Ian Marshall, Dare to be Digital Director
· Michael Griffin, Kapooki Games
· Gerry Carthy, Vivendi

Also in attendance, for team briefing, will be Jackie McKenzie (Dare to be Digital Project Manager) and Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development, Abertay.

What then awaits the winner? “The chosen Irish team will represent the country at the Dare competition, hosted in Scotland for 10 weeks from June 21st, 2004. Flights and accommodation are all provided and each member of the team will receive £170 per week. The winner is announced on August 26th and there’s a press conference the next day.”

Dare to be Digital is not to be sniffed at, with winners of last year’s competition entering subsequent talks with EA. Michael plans on expanding Ireland’s role in the competition next year, housing at least three of the entry teams in the Digital Hub, and further promoting the opportunities for students via this competition.

“Dare to be Digital raises the profile of game development in colleges; it creates closer links with the industry and provides our students with an opportunity to work on something they have a passion for during the summer,” says Michael Hallissy. “It exposes them to the leaders in the games industry. Indeed, it’s raising the whole profile of the industry in Ireland.

Entry teams and their members are free to forward queries to: mailto: