AGSB Esports win Digital Schoolhouse Splatoon 3 finals: Student journalist, caster and producer winners also announced

AGSB Esports win Digital Schoolhouse Splatoon Event 2024

Photo by Joe Brady; Esports News UK partnered with Ukie on a freelance basis to judge the student journalist competition & travel to the finals

The UK’s 2024 Digital Schoolhouse Splatoon 3 esports finals have concluded, and AGSB Esports (Altrincham Grammar School for Boys) have been named the best of the rest.

They were one of 55 teams that signed up to the schools Splatoon tournament, which was announced last year and hosted in partnership with Nintendo.

The final four teams took part in the grand finals yesterday at WASD London: Altrincham Grammar, Southend High School for Boys, Outwood City Academy and Hinchley Wood School. You can read more about their journeys and what their teachers had to say in our recent Digital Schoolhouse Splatoon 3 esports grand finals preview article.

A whole floor at WASD was transformed into a Splatoon-themed environment, with team lighting, splat marks around the venue, Splatoon-themed imagery plus a stage and caster booth. Splatoon is of course a game where teams do battle to shoot paint in their own colour across the map before the time expires – the team with the most paint wins.

The crowd was lively and host Alysia Judge and casters Bowie the Hero and Nimmz (as well as all the student casters) were on fine form, bringing the event to life.

bowie nimmz with student casters digital schoolhouse
Casters Bowie the Hero (left) and Nimmz (right) with student casters (centre) – photo by Joe Brady

This all helped to provide the viewers and participants – who were playing in a tournament like this on stage for the first time – with a day to remember.

As Digital Schoolhouse is the computing education arm of UK games industry trade body Ukie, Nick Poole, the new CEO of Ukie, gave a few words about the strength of the UK games industry and encouraged students to get involved.

Damon Bates from ZMS Esports Studio and yours truly (Dom Sacco from Esports News UK) also spoke about the careers available in esports and what it’s like to work in it.

Award-winning esports photographer Joe Brady was also on hand to take snaps of all the Splatoon shenanigans.

After the opening talks, the esports action got underway, with AGSB Esports beating Hinchley Wood School 3-0 and Southend High School defeating Outwood Academy City 3-0.

Southend then beat AGSB also 3-0 to go into the grand final as favourites.

In the lower bracket, a close-fought battle saw Outwood beat Hinchley 3-2 with some lively crowd chants.

AGSB Esports then beat Outwood 3-0 to book a place in the grand final.

There, AGSB faced Southend once again, and this time they found their form to pick up a 3-0 win over the team that defeated them earlier, to be crowned Digital Schoolhouse 2024 Splatoon esports champions.

Teams took home medals, goody bags and more, with AGSB also receiving a special gold-framed Splatoon 3 print for their school.

‘Esports has given me confidence’ – AGSB Esports speak to Esports News UK after Digital Schoolhouse win

We caught up with AGSB Esports players WaddleDee, MisaSoup, JoeBulder and reminiscence after the final, as well as teacher and head of esports Rob ‘rc39’ Cummins.

MisaSoup said: “There was a lot of stress and excitement today, but in the end it all panned out how I wanted it to. We didn’t come into this saying we need to win, we said let’s go in and have fun and do the best that we can. We had nothing to lose.

“This tournament has been a great experience and I want to do it again.”

WaddleDee added: “I’ve had an incredible experience. I started off being really nervous to go up and do anything in front of anyone, but when I’ve gone up there [on stage] and played the game, it helped so much [in terms of] fixing my nerves.

“It was quite nice to get back at Southend as they beat us 3-0 then we beat them 3-0, so it was nice to get the win.”

Both the players said they’d also be interested in working in game development in the future.

Altrincham Grammar School for Boys Teacher and Head of Esports, Rob ‘rc39’ Cummins, also told Esports News UK: “It’s been fantastic. Digital Schoolhouse has done such an amazing job. To see [the students] play up on stage and have that experience, it’s been absolutely brilliant for them, I’m so proud of them.

“The range of schools involved in this tournament is phenomenal, it’s so good to give students an outlet. There are students who don’t want to go down the mainstream sports route, or don’t want to do other clubs at school, but they want to do esports, so to let them have that outlet is just brilliant.”

Top student journalist, casters and producer named, as Ukie Student Game Jam winners take part in special panel discussion

It wasn’t just the student esports teams that were recognised – other talent were celebrated too.

Dax from St John Fisher Catholic High School won esports student journalism award, handed out by Esports News UK’s Dom Sacco, for an excellent article on casting which will be published on our Esports News UK soon.

Damon Bates from ZMS Esports Studio then awarded Josh from Hinchley Wood School the student producer award for their excellent work behind the scenes.

And casters Bowie the Hero and Nimmz awarded Dax from St John Fisher Catholic High School and Albert from Southend High School for Boys the student caster awards, for bringing their passion and energy and connection to the game. Dax and Albert commentated in the grand finals and blew away the Digital Schoolhouse team with their casting skills.

Prizes for the winners included trophies, goody bags and a stream deck from Scan Computers.

Elsewhere, there was a panel featuring the winners of the Ukie Student Game Jam: Ilena Pegan, Chester Huang and Carrie Penn (forming the team Reckless Ferrets) from the National Film and Television School, who made the game ‘Taketh Giveth’.

ukie student jam panel 2024
Photo by Joe Brady

This panel was moderated by Deborah Farley, Head of Foundership Development at Tranzfuser, a programme that guides graduates to set up their own games dev studios.

Speakers gave advice for students looking to break into game development, and spoke about their experiences and learnings.

Digital Schoolhouse Director on finals at WASD and the future of the programme

Shahneila Saeed, Head of Education for Ukie and Director of the Digital Schoolhouse programme, said: “It’s been amazing, I’m always buzzing after the final. We’re in WASD for the first time and I think this is the first time our grand final has been so open, we’ve allowed students to engage with more of industry, and allowed industry to pop their head in and see what’s going on with the students. Bringing those two worlds closer together has been spectacular.

“In the future, I think Digital Schoolhouse can grow in so many ways. We now have esports for students as young as eight all the way to 18. The Splatoon tournament has been amazing and Nintendo has been wonderful to work with throughout.

“I think this will go to new heights, we have more students taking part each year and we see the calibre of students getting better every year.”

Shahneila Saeed, Digital Schoolhouse

“I want to give a heartfelt thank you to the teachers and students that take part. In today’s landscape you’ve got to be a visionary as a teacher to a certain extent to take the leap and try esports. And to the industry, I feel like they have truly embraced and backed Digital Schoolhouse. We always get such a positive and warm response, and that’s been spectacular.

“We truly couldn’t make this happen without the backing of the industry, so a heartfelt thank you to them, and to Nintendo of course – and to you!”

There’s more on the Digital Schoolhouse website here

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