A fantasy game set between the pages of a diary and an imaginary world has received international recognition – picking up more awards at high-profile industry events.
Lost Words: Beyond the page was created by Mark Backler of Sketchbook Games, one of the first companies to receive business start-up advice from the University of Essex. The company is still based in Studio X, the University’s Start-up hub on the Knowledge Gateway
Lost Words, written by renowned game writer Rhianna Pratchett, picked up the Excellence in Narrative award at DevGamm 2020 in Moscow. It was also nominated for a number of other categories and was the only UK game to be short-listed in a competition which attracted entries from across Europe, China and Russia. In the TIGA Games Industry Awards it picked up the top prize for Audio Design and last week won the Indie Grand Prix award at Pixel Heaven in Warsaw.
The game, which launched on Google Stadia earlier this year, follows a young girl named Izzy through the pages of her journal and the fantasy world she creates within it. As Mark explained: “It explores the special relationship she has with her grandmother and her aspiration of becoming a writer.
“When her gran suffers a stroke, Izzy uses the fantasy world that she’s writing about as a means of coping with and exploring the issues she’s facing in the real world.
“Players get an insight into Izzy’s world as she learns life lessons about perseverance and how to deal with regrets. They can move words and pictures around the page to solve puzzles and make choices that help shape the story.”
The game, which won awards even before its launch, has also had some great player feedback and reviews. Mark is now working on versions of the game for Steam, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, which will be released early in 2021.