2016 Shakespeare Off the Map Competition Winners Announced at GameCity11 Festival
Last night was the awards event at The National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham for the 2016 Off the Map competition, which had a Shakespeare theme. Now in its fourth year, Off the Map challenges full time UK students in higher or further education to make videogames, digital explorable environments, or interactive fiction based on digitised British Library collection items.
For 2016 the competition has been part of the British Library's commemoration of 400 years since the death of Shakespeare and has been running in conjunction with the Libraryâs recent exhibition âShakespeare in Ten Actsâ. Curators selected text, images, maps and sounds based on three sub themes:
- Castles: Scene of Ghosts and Murder
- The Tempest
- Forests, Woodlands and A Midsummer Nightâs Dream
This year's fantastic first place winning entry used the The Tempest sub theme and was created by Team Quattro from De Montfort University in Leicester. The team consisted of six students: Chris Anka, Perrie Green, Tara Naz, Jade Silver, Jasdev Singh and Joel Wilkins.
Flythrough of Team Quattroâs âThe Tempestâ game
Dr Erin Sullivan described the winning game as âan evocative, immersive world that powerfully channels the drama of The Tempest. It introduces players to the story of the play in a deep, thoughtful way.â
Dr Abigail Parry said âI was head-over-heels for the metatextual element of this submission â you had me at the stage door. It was good, too, to see source text daubed on the caves walls â for me, the greatest strength of the submission was that it succeeded in synthesising text, assets and game environment in a way that was both engaging and beautiful. Also to be commended was the attention to detail â the prop storm clouds were a delight. The individual domains were characterful, and the story welcome without being obtrusive. Most of all, it displayed a real interest in â and affection for - the play. I would want to play this game, and would be equally proud to teach with it.â
In second place came Tom Battey from the London College of Communication with a game called âMidsummerâ based on the characters in the play A Midsummer Nightâs Dream.
Dr Erin Sullivan describing 'Midsummer' said that âthe visual world and the engagement with the play were extremely impressive. I loved the historical flourishes and the imaginative exploration of the charactersâ emotions.â
In third place was an interactive fiction story again using The Tempest sub theme called This Most Desolate Isle by Alan Stewart from Brunel University who effectively used illustrations by Arthur Rackham to accompany his creative writing.
Huge congratulations to this year's winning entries, and I'd also like to offer sincere thanks to the 2016 Off the Map jury members:
- Sarah Ellis, Head of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company
- Dr Abigail Parry, Poet in Residence at the National Videogame Arcade
- Dr Erin Sullivan, Shakespeare Institute Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham
- Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds Curator at the British Library
- ZoĂ« Wilcox, Lead Curator of the Shakespeare Exhibition at the British Library
The 2017 competition is called There Will be Fun Off The Map and this is associated with the British Libraryâs current exhibition Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun, which is open until Sunday 12 February 2017. Keep your eyes peeled for further information about this; I will be blogging here over the next few weeks, when the new There Will be Fun Off The Map competition website is available.
Stella Wisdom, Digital Curator, @miss_wisdom