It seems to be news day today. As I said at the weekend in my Games Britannia Industry Talks post the theme for this years Schools Game Design Competition was announced, and I believe that made it the official launch as well.
As I pointed out in the previous post the theme for this years competition is the Gremlin Graphics video game character Jack the Nipper.
A good source for Jack the Nipper related material is the World of Spectrum archive (direct link to the page here ). Which has tape images of the game that can be played in a Spectrum emulator, it has scans of reviews of the game, maps, adverts. Nearly everything you could want as background information.
There is a competition pack to download (although not uploaded at time of writing) that should include a competition booklet, application form, and further information about the game.
As I said in the brackets the pack wasn't available at time of writing, but I'm hoping that background info will include emulators and game images for students to play. I didn't see last years pack, but the first competition pack which was based around Monty Mole did have emulators and game images. I think it helps if the students are able to play the original so they can get a feel for the character, and the style of object-based puzzles from the 80's. If they haven't included the game images, go visit the World of Spectrum link from above.
Actually I'd be tempted to print off some of the reviews (The one from Crash for starters) and let the students see how reviewing has changed over the years. Take in a couple of modern magazines like Games TM, Edge or one of the Xbox and Playstation ones for comparison.
Anyway the key dates are 16th May 5pm closing deadline for entries. 10th June finalists attend a game jam to create a prototype of their design (don't worry there will be degree students on hand to help get the finalists vision onto the screen using GameMaker), with the winner decided on the day.
More details can be found here. Although you will have to navigate to the details through the Competitions menu at the top of the page.
This competition works out nicely for me and the game design unit I teach. So guess what the assignment will be for my students?
Anyway good luck to all those that are entering.
UPDATE 28/1/14: The competition pack went live last night, I have looked at it and there is no emulator with game image in it. So you will have to resort to my suggestion above. There will at some point be an game engine (made in GameMaker) available, which is going to be an exe according to the briefing document in the pack? Which I can't see the point of, I would of thought it would of been more use as a GameMaker project. Or and this may very well be the case I am missing something here about GameMaker.
Also Ric Lumb has done a demo (from way back in 2003) which you can get here to show the students.