Raft of UK studios signed up by C4 Education

Raft of UK studios signed up by C4 Education
Michael French

By Michael French

November 10th 2010 at 12:00PM

Broadcaster's latest games include commissions for Tuna, Proper, Playniac and Littleloud

Channel 4 continues to invest heavily in innovative UK games projects - today revealing a new set of commissions for its Education division.

The broadcaster revealed today that it has signed up eight game studios for projects due in the months ahead.

Studios signed are from across the UK – Tuna, Playniac, Zoe Mode, Preloaded, Littleloud and Big Robot.

It's also working on a console game with Scottish outfit Proper Games, and has signed up Paulina Bozek's Inensu for a fashion app and site.

They are a mix of established teams and brand new outfits, and their games and apps cover a range of projects that would otherwise be neglected by traditional games.

C4 Education's activity, led by commissioning editor Alice Taylor, has actively pursued game content instead of TV as a way to reach and inform young minds who are more comfortable with interactive and web projects, not static broadcasting.

Today C4 announced that the department is also expanding its remit to include young players aged 10 to 14.

“Channel 4 Education is utterly committed to providing engaging, exciting material for our target audience, now extended to include 10-14 year olds, said Taylor.

"Covering a fantastic range of formats and platforms, the projects are varied and fun whilst still tackling useful and important subject matter.

"As usual we aim to represent teens – and now tweens – in their best light, and to continue to find new talent and recruit UK independents in the drive to provide public service content of the very highest quality.”

The games signed from game studios cover topics likes Financial Management, Citizenship, Belief & Philosophy, Ethical Fashion, Health, plus the projects for 10 to 14 year olds. The projects are:

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Footfall
, an online game from Preloaded in which the player runs a start-up shoe shop with the aim of transforming it into a successful multi-chain empire. The game is designed to teach the mechanics of consumer trends, supply and demand, unemployment levels, disposable income and property prices. (Target audience: 16-18, female skew.)

Vinyltopia, a console game from Proper Games in Scotland. Similar to Footfall, but with a tactically different approach for a tactically different audience, the game teaches players business skills and financial literacy through the responsibility of running a small record shop. (Target audience: 16-18, male skew.)

International Racing Squirrels. Game/web developers Playniac are producing this personal finance game to help 14-15 year olds get to grips with the heady world of finance combining engaging gaming action with real world financial understanding. (Target audience: 14-15, female skew.)

CITIZENSHIP
Walking City
, a simple strategic urban management game from new games indie Big Robot is that aims to teach players about the value and challenges of living in a modern city. (Target audience: 14-16, male skew.)

BELIEF, PHILOSOPHY
The End
, a platform-based web game designed to explore themes of death, belief and science. Produced by Preloaded with Tom Chatfield, author of Fun, Inc. (Target audience: 14-19, both sexes.)

HEALTH
Yes Chef!
is a healthy-eating challenge game from Playerthree which will task the player with learning how to prepare a range of recipes, and what physical and mental effects such foods can have on the chef’s customers. (Target audience: 14-19, both sexes.)

ETHICAL FASHION
Closet Swap
from new game company Inensu which is a community website and associated smartphone app designed to encourage young users to think ethically about their wardrobe, and to swap – and ‘upcycle’, and share – their clothes with their friends. (Target audience: 14+, female skew.)

Sweatshop, a tower defence-style online game produced by Littleloud, to complement the release of the Closet Swap site and app. (Target audience: 14+, both sexes.)

PROJECTS FOR 10-14 YEAR OLDS:
Who I Am
, an avatar-based product from social games developer Zoe Mode, a playful app dedicated to helping them explore their identity and to share and compare their opinions with friends.

Truth Specs (working title) from Somethin’ Else, an expansion on the already-launched Super Me, which focuses on transition and resilience, for younger teenagers.

COMING IN NOV/DEC
The Science of Attraction
, from Objective Productions, a series of six ten-minute online videos introduced by the Derren Brown.

Cover Girl, from Brit indie Tuna - a browser-based game aimed at girls 12+, looking at the way images in magazines are usually airbrushed and otherwise technically adjusted. The game allows players to assume the role of desk artist in a publishing house, charged with ’enhancing’ the photos that will adorn the publishers’ fashion magazine.

C4E has also added more to its Battlefront youth campaigning website, including expanding to a T4 TV series.