About Dare Academy

Overview of Dare Academy

The Dare Academy is an annual games design competition, hosted by Abertay University. Our computer games students come together in teams to create their very own computer games, with a lucrative prize in store for the winner.

After a tough application process, six finalist teams are selected. These finalists, armed with a £1,000 working budget, develop their projects while receiving mentoring and support from leading industry professionals during a four-week ‘hot-housing’ period in the summer.

Then the teams go head-to-head at EGX – the largest games expo in the UK. This provides all six finalists with a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and network with some of the leading names in the industry, at the same time showcasing their product to 70,000+ attendees over four days. EGX is also the perfect place to announce the competition winner, so that’s what we’ll do.

The Dare Academy is a competition steeped in history and recognised as one of the best games competitions in the UK. We can’t wait to see what the 2019 teams create!

Dare Academy is here, it’s happening, and it’s LIVE!


2018 DARE Academy Finalists

History of Dare


Dare to be Digital was established by partners Scottish Enterprise Tayside, Dundee City Council and the Abertay University in 2000. Dare has tried and tested many different models over the years, including opening the contest to international teams.

The level and standard set in the competition in the early years were sensational, which garnered huge local and international interest.

Dare team posing with VR gear.


By 2007 Dare cemented itself as one of the most exciting and diverse competitions around, and captured many ‘never-been-done-before’ moments in the gaming industry. The number of teams increased to 12 and were split across hosting centres in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland. It was also the first time that a team from India and China joined UK-based teams. These two international teams comprised of four team members from their respective countries and a Dare Scholar from Scotland.


Dare ProtoPlay

2007 was also the first year of Dare ProtoPlay, a talent showcasing event in Edinburgh, which witnessed the general public playing and voting alongside a panel of industry experts! It was the first year of Dare’s involvement with the BAFTA Video Games Awards, with the three winning teams forming the shortlist for a new BAFTA Ones to Watch Award. Voodoo Boogy by Ragnarawk gets a special mention here for being the first team to win this award. The following year the competition

increased in size to include 17 teams, hosted in centres in Dundee, Birmingham, Dublin, London and Brighton.

3 people lookin at a computer screen


A Channel 4-commissioned production company filmed Dare throughout the 2010 competition, following the teams for a three-part documentary called Crunch Time, which was aired in early 2011. That year, Dare took a big risk in bringing Dare ProtoPlay home to Dundee, where it was held in the city’s Caird Hall. The risk paid off with audience numbers tripling in size to around 9,000 over the three day event. This number increased to around 10,000 in 2012.

Dare Academy finalists in front of Abertay University.


In 2017, the contest was rebooted and renamed Dare Academy. The contest now focusses on nurturing and showcasing the best of Abertay University’s games student talent. The contest is a vehicle to help students launch their industry careers and give them real understanding of the exciting and ever-evolving games industry.

Last year saw the winner’s project named as one of the top 10 games at EGX by The Guardian and one of the top 12 games by Gamesindustry.biz

Winners of Dare Academy 2017

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