Jury Members

Andy Pane

Gaming was definitely not on university presidents and deans’ radar map in 1984, when Andy graduated in Graphic Origination & Reproduction, Film, TV and Media. That did not stop him from entering the embryonic leisure software industry in 1985: those were the days of the Spectrum ZX81, Commodore C16 and 64 and other BBC Micro cassette-based home computers, and Andy already had a real passion for games.

The introduction of 16-bit machines, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga, in 1987-88 boosted the industry, and Andy quickly realized that a professional gaming industry was being born. A serial entrepreneur, he founded The Producers in 1988 (which later became Mastertronic), The Associates in 1996 (which changed its name to Just Flight in 1997), Just Trains in 2002, Fink Creative in 1999, Get Games in 2009, and AppyNation in 2011. All these companies still exist today, with Andy Payne as CEO.

Andy is a board member of the United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment Association, Ukie since 2001, and chair since 2005. He is a board member of BAFTA, and a member of British Government Creative Industries Council. He is also a founder and was chair and trustee for several years of GamesAid, an Entertainment Software Charity that has raised over 1.8 million £ mostly for technology-related education charity projects. He is a board member at games developer Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator and I am Bread), a board member at Film London and a founder at Gambitious, the first professional equity-based crowdfunding platform for games and films.

  • www.mastertronic.com (independent game publishing)
  • www.getgamesgo.com (online game distribution)
  • www.justflight.com (flight simulation development, publishing and distribution)
  • www.justtrains.com (train simulaton development, publishing and distribution)
  • www.appynation.com (mobile game publishing)
  • www.gambitious.com (games crowdfunding platform)
  • www.ukie.org.uk (games industry association)

Georg Backer

Georg Backer is a passionate video game developer, designer and producer with over 15 years of professional industry experience. Georg always had a passion not only for playing but also for making games. He released his first game as freeware on a cover disk of a PC Magazine sometime in the mid 90s.

In 1999 Georg joined Lionhead Studios to work on BAFTA (British Academy of Film & TV Arts) Award-nominated and winning games such as Black & White, The Movies, Fable 1, 2 and 3 in a variety of roles such as programming, design and production. For Fable 3 he oversaw the Audio, Music and Dialogue production, recording over 400,000 words with more than 80 actors.

Georg left Lionhead in 2011 to work on a variety of video game projects as producer, designer and developer. His passion lies in immersive & narrative driven games. Currently Georg is working with a fantastic team on a very intriguing and ambitious unannounced game based on an original idea. Georg is also actively involved in the UK game development community, giving talks and hosting events to help nurture and support the upcoming talent. He also sits as an elected member on the games committee of the British Academy of Film & TV Arts (BAFTA).
In 2014 Georg was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK games industry by the MCV UK magazine. Basically Georg really loves games. He also smiles. A lot.

Hamad Al-Hasan

His passion for games and game development has taken Bahraini Hamad Al Hasan far from the shores of our island, where he had graduated from Bahrain University in Computer Science. After a couple of years as a software engineer, he jumped sea and ocean to work as a Gameplay programmer for Action Mobile Games in the USA, on their Infected Wars title. He developed a passion for Unreal Engine, which then took him to Serbia at Digital Arrow and to Saudi Arabia as a consultant for Semanoor, the publisher of Trails of Ibn Battuta. After that, he worked as a Technical Director for Empire Studios, a local game studio, in which he played a key role in establishing it as well as overseeing all the technical aspects of an unannounced mobile game.

Since 2010, he worked on a variety of systems, be it about player movements, camera and controls, artificial intelligence, networking and replication, weapons, different customizations, HUD and Menus. He is equally familiar with the Unreal Editor and its tools, and has also developed a strong expertise in material and shader creation. Back in Bahrain, he works on his own projects, while continuing freelance work.


Dr. Odyssefs Effraimidis

The world has changed and universities increasingly consider gaming and game development as a key aspect of their informatics and web media syllabuses. And it is no surprise that Bahrain Polytechnic is organizing and hosting the GCC Game Jam: its school of ICT and Web Media boasts several game development components, which are very popular among the students.

Odyssefs is a tutor of Web Media at Bahrain Polytechnic, notably teaching the module Internet and Multimedia 2: Game Design. Odyssefs hold a PhD in informatics from Athens University of Economy and Business, and has previous teaching experiences in Greece (Greek and UK franchised programs), as well as experience in the private sector. He has published numerous papers in international journals.


Rashed Mokhdad

An avid gamer since childhood, no one took him seriously in Bahrain when he declared as a teenager that he wanted to become a gaming industry professional. While encouraged to follow more traditional ICT or business studies, he actually decided to live his passion and went to study Game Development and Entrepreneurship at University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Canada.

Back in the Middle East, he has gained himself a reputation working with some leading gamers’ communities such as at7addak and VGS, while opening his own YouTube channel and blog site The Arab Gamer. His game reviews have made him famous, and prestigious publishers such as Ubisoft and Konami don’t hesitate to fly him around the world to preview their next releases.Rashed is currently Community and marketing manager for Get Games ME / Red Stallion Interactive.