New College Swindon crowned 2020 national champions!

Author: Laura Martin, Comms & Programme Manager

10,000 students, 1000+ teams, 69 schools. 1 winner.

Today New College Swindon were crowned National Champions 2020 🎉

Reaching a much-anticipated conclusion, the grand final of the Digital Schoolhouse Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Team Battle 2020 saw our 13 semi-finalists battle it out for a chance to become Smash Bros. Ultimate champions and wrap our debut virtual finale.

Our semi-finalists waited a cool 7 months to compete but by no means did the wait dampen spirits. The year-long competition saw its usual explosive end with hosts Alysia Judge, Nimmz and Bowie, production by Gfinity and our landmark careers panel to boot.

Alysia Judge, Nimmz and Bowie on the live stream
Alysia Judge, Nimmz and Bowie on the live stream

The global pandemic and consequential lockdown rules forced our usual physical event at Gfinity’s London arena to be postponed. But was the wait worth it? Absolutely! Not only did we hear from our panel of esteemed games industry talent, but in celebration of the tournament we made DSH history - our first careers panel hosted in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

Hosted by award-winning TV presenter Elle Osili-Wood, our panellists Wayne Emanuel, lead strategic gaming partnerships Europe at TikTok London, Nida Ahmad, UX designer & researcher at Netspeak Games, Jade Leamcharaskul, composer, sound designer & audio culture consultant, Abubakar Salim, actor, game dev & producer at Silver Rain Games discussed how they landed their current role and their progression into the video games industry.

In addition to answering questions from our student viewers in their very own island ‘studio’, panellists also addressed challenges they've come across in their career, how they overcame them and a word of advise for future talent.

Elle Osili-Wood, careers panel 
Elle Osili-Wood, careers panel 

If you missed it, you can catch up on the thread here. There was lots of inspiring advice on how to get into industry and how to progress your career, but one theme that stood out was the importance of communication and soft skills in the games industry. 

Nida Ahmad, careers panel
Nida Ahmad, careers panel

Massive congratulations to New College Swindon who walked away with the (very heavy) one-of-a-kind trophy and a bumper load of prizes from Nintendo UK, SEGA, Ubisoft and Scirra including Super Mario goodies! New school mascot?

Congratulations to all our teams who took part in our last stage of the tournament:

  • Access Creative College
  • Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
  • Big Creative Education
  • Coventry College
  • Creative Computing Club
  • Holy Trinity College
  • New College Swindon
  • Norton College
  • Pool Academy
  • Prendergast Ladywell School
  • Southend High School for Boys
  • The Forest School
  • William Howard School

We’d also like to thank all the teachers who helped us make this happen remotely. Thirdly, a huge well done to all those students behind the camera who made the tournament a success at their own schools and colleges - community managers, event managers, production crew, team managers and tournament admins. Last but not least, a special shout out to our amazing shoutcasters! Your confidence and finesse blows us away every year - keep on talking!

This event is always bursting with energy, creativity and passion for our students and without our partners we couldn't continue to give them these fantastic opportunities. Thank you Nintendo UK, Belong Gaming Arenas, Ubisoft, SEGA, Scirra, Gfinity, Staffordshire University and Koyo Store for your support.

For me, the grand final has been pure joy and a much needed antidote to a very volatile few weeks and months. Here's to next year!

Sign up for 2021 now! (registration closes at 5pm, Friday 30 November).