Meet the Judges for One Special Game

This Friday, 11th September, is the final closing date for our gaming fan art competition ONE SPECIAL GAME . In collaboration with the game developers themselves, we’ve invited all artists in the United Kingdom to submit their take on the iconic games STARDEW VALLEY, MASS EFFECT, MONUMENT VALLEY and NEED FOR SPEED. We’ve had some fantastic entries so far and there’s still time to enter… but you’ll need to be quick on the draw.

But who will have the difficult task of judging the entries to ONE SPECIAL GAME? Over the next three days, we’ll meet each of the three judges and find out a little more about them.

Let’s start with the brilliant Steve Uphill, Head of Content at EA/Criterion Games…


What would be your ‘special’ game (a game that means a lot to you) and why?

Very tough one but I’d have to go for Mario Kart (snes) or Goldeneye (N64).  Both hold very fond memories of my first real exposure to gaming but more importantly the social side.  I spent many hours with my two closest friends playing these over and over throughout the school holidays.  Goldeneye in particular served as my inspiration for wanting to get into the Games Industry.  Modern games are an incredible achievement these days that offer a multitude of features but these two games were so simple in concept and yet offered so much replay ability and depth.

What is your favourite key art/box art on a game, if you have one?

Shadow of a Colossus.  In general, most box art’s have to tell a story whilst selling the game and sometimes they can become overly complex with your eye darting all around the image.  What I love about the Shadow box art is the simplicity and that it tells a story, it’s more like a piece of art than it is box art.

Could you tell us why you got involved in One Special game (in a couple of sentences!)

Two sentences, that’s hard.  It’s cliched but I want to give back and help others.  The industry has been very good to me, I’ve met some great people, made some great games and I’d like to help others have the same fun as me.  Criterion has always been a big supporter of the Special Effect charity over the years so anything I can do to help with that is a pleasure.

Do you have any tips for aspiring artists and designers who would like to get into the games industry?

Just start, show your work early, get feedback and iterate.  Also, be creative and have fun, these are more important than the raw skills. It’s easy to learn all the skills and tools but the creative and fun elements are where the real magic happens.  Lastly, never stop learning and asking questions.

What would be your dream game to have worked on and why?

Half Life 2.  The combination of story, gameplay, art direction and audio was a real gamechanger for me.  It brought all the crafts together so well and it felt believable.


A bald man smilingThanks Steve. Tomorrow we’ll meet judge number 2. There’s still time to enter so for more information, please go to