Celebs out in force for gaming awards



Best game at the Bafta Games Awards went to stealth action adventure game Dishonored

If anyone had any doubt about how big mainstream gaming has become, the host of famous faces lining up to add a touch of glamour to the pixel back-slapping at the Bafta Games Awards should set them right.

Ross Bafta Games

Far from being a pursuit designed solely for teenage boys in their bedrooms, gaming has now reached a new level of acceptance alongside watching television or reading a book.

At the ninth annual gaming showcase, TV presenter Jonathan Ross, Olympic gymnast-turned Strictly star Louis Smith and pop heartthrob Conor Maynard were all in attendance.

Ross explained that the industry has transformed in recent years, with the Nintendo Wii in particular bringing games to more living rooms.

"I don't think you have to be a nerd to play games," he said. "You've seen elderly folks playing on the Nintendo Wii - they're not nerds, how dare you accuse them of being nerds?"

Hear, hear. Fighting against the Reapers on Mass Effect and quelling insurgents on Battlefield has always been cool - everyone else is just waking up to that now.

Ross, 52, was at the event to present gaming tycoon Gabe Newell with a Bafta fellowship.

The award for best game went to stealth action adventure game Dishonored, but Journey was the big winner of the night - picking up gongs for game design, artistic achievement, audio achievement, online multiplayer and original music.

Comedian Russell Kane, who was also at the ceremony, said it is a "no brainer" as to why average 14 year olds are drawn to gaming instead of sitting down with a good book. However, he explained that the medium is evolving to create more in-depth storytelling and facilitate learning without gamers even realising.

"There's more and more interaction, the learning side of it is getting more and more interesting," he said. "Some of these historical first-person games, without even meaning to, even though you've cut the heads off a thousand people, you've learned who the Tudors are - benefits."

This idea was emphasised by writer Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Terry Pratchett, who says gaming is becoming a great way of telling stories.

"I think we have only just scratched the surface of what narrative in games can do," she said.

Pratchett also gave us a little taste of what to expect from the Tomb Raider reboot, which she masterminded, as we try to beat it over the coming weeks.

The long-awaited return of Lara Croft and her windswept ponytail was released earlier this week and it takes us back to when our heroine was 21 years old.

"We have not taken away from her, we have just taken her back to a different period of her life that players have never really been able to experience," she said.

Excited? Yes, thought so. If you haven't already bagged yourself a copy, Tomb Raider is out now on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.