That's (interactive) entertainment

The multimedia industry had its night in the limelight last week as Bafta welcomed designers and programmers into the family.
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The Independent Culture
BLACK-TIE replaced black T-shirt - for an evening, at least - when the first Bafta Interactive Entertainment Awards were presented in London last week.

"Tonight's awards represent an exciting moment for Bafta, our partners ICL and the interactive industry," Lord Puttnam, vice-president of Bafta, told the multimedia masses who had gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel. "The winners of these new awards are not only innovators of the future of the world's media, but also true creatives in every sense."

The ceremony was hosted by the actor and writer, Stephen Fry, who presented winners with bronze Bafta masks more often seen in the grip of a gushing luvvies. But Fry wisely kept interactivity to a minimum, instructing winners to "bugger off", not allowing them time to make speeches in praise of parents, fellow programmers or their pizza delivery man.

The results of the inaugural Bafta IE awards should give heart to struggling new media developers, as some of the big names in the industry - the Miller brothers, who gave the world Riven; Douglas Adams, whose Digital Village produced Starship Titanic, and Microsoft (cue hissing all round the ballroom), who brought us Interactive Barney - all went home empty-handed. At least they had homes to go to. The crew from AudioRom, who won the Design Award, had been turfed out of their Clink Street premises earlier in the day.

The Interactive Entertainment Baftas were awarded in 11 categories. The Comedy Award, for the best use of humour in any interactive media, went to NoHo Digital's MindGym CD-Rom. The News and Magazine Award, for the best use of interactive media by an online news programme or magazine, went to BBC News Online.

The Factual Award, for work which best uses the resources of interactive media to further understanding, went to Maris Multimedia's RedShift 3 CD-Rom. The Games Award, for the best computer game, went to Rare for the GoldenEye 007 Nintendo game.

The Children's Award, for the best interactive work for use in the home by children under the age of 12, went to Lucas Learning Ltd for its Star Wars DroidWorks CD-Rom. The Learning Award, for the best work of enjoyable learning for users of any age, went to Geese Theatre Co's Lifting the Weight CD-Rom.

The Moving Images Award, for the best use of moving images in an interactive work, went to Real World Multimedia for its Ceremony of Innocence CD-Rom. Ceremony of Innocence also scooped the Sound Award, for best use of sound in an interactive work.

The Interactive Treatment Award, for the must successful and engaging use of interactivity, went to the Interactive Learning Laboratory, University of Wollongong, Australia, for its StageStruck CD-Rom. AudioRom won for their ShiftControl enhanced CD.

The Computer Programming Award, for innovative use of programming which adds value to an interactive title, went to SCEI for its Gran Turismo PlayStation game.

Two special UK awards also were presented. Peter Kindersley, chairman of Dorling Kindersley, was presented the Berners-Lee Award, named after the man who invented the World Wide Web, for the best personal contribution by a British individual. The Best UK Developer award was presented to Rare.