BAFTA's interactive stars: new rivals for Gwyneth?

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The Independent Online

The BAFTA Interactive Awards didn't have any hysterics like Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars. The winners were announced sensibly last week, and a few American publishers gave brief speeches. Smart clothes did the best suggestion of pomp at The Royal Lancaster Hotel, Hyde Park.

The BAFTA Interactive Awards didn't have any hysterics like Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars. The winners were announced sensibly last week, and a few American publishers gave brief speeches. Smart clothes did the best suggestion of pomp at The Royal Lancaster Hotel, Hyde Park.

The do was hosted by the vice-president of BAFTA, Lord Puttnam, with comedian Rhona Cameron. But the winners are not yet fully formed global celebrities. No, Lara Croft didn't show.

The nominated computer games were the only means of identifying remarkable achievement, especially Wip3out, Half-Life, Alien Vs. Predator and The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. A special award was given to Toby Gard for making public his dream girl in Lara Croft, the female adventurer from Tomb Raider.

Lord Puttnam told those at the second BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Awards: "The interactive sector has the potential to transform the way we educate and entertain ourselves, if only we in Britain have the energy and confidence to grasp the opportunity."

The biggest cheer of the night went to The BirdGuide Website, a UK-based e-zine that offers news, an online video and reference library, as well as rare birdsighting information and links to resources on and offline.

The computer game, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, won four awards mostly for being first to transfer the involving but heavily schematic Role Playing. Carlton Online won an award in the flourishing entertainment market, and gained special praise for Jamba not being tied to a Carlton brand.

BAFTA partnered the event with ICL, the IT system and service company, and they sponsored the Learning Award.

One of its nominations was Disney's Adventures In Typing With Timon and Pumba, which adds proof that the synthesis of a blockbuster film and education drills can work. But the award went to a CD-Rom that tackles the ceaselessly difficult subject of physics.

Overall, the ceremony revealed how far the Interactive industry have come in its quest to match film and television in their use of light, camera, action. It's got a long way to go. But it showed it has earned a place in the BAFTA club.

Other winners included: Best UK Developer: Rare Ltd, The Berners-Lee Award for the Best Personal Contribution to the UK Industry: Toby Gard, The News Award: BBC News Online (website), Factual Award: CNN.com/ColdWar (website), The Children's Award.

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