Last night was the award ceremony at The National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham for the Alice's Adventures Off the Map 2015 competition, which is a British Library partnership initiative with GameCity. Now in its third 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 2015 the competition has been part of the British Library's celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. Therefore the digitised collection items provided as inspiration to the Off the Map participants included the original handwritten manuscript of Aliceâ€™s Adventures Under Ground, an excerpt from Lewis Carrollâ€™s diary in which he records first telling his famous tale and John Tennielâ€™s illustrations from the 1890 edition of The Nursery Alice. Furthermore, the Library's curators selected maps, illustrations and sounds based on three sub-themes Oxford, Underground and Gardens.
This year's amazing 1st place winning entry is called "The Wondering Lands of Alice", which has been created by Off Our Rockers, a team of six students from De Montfort University in Leicester: Dan Bullock, Freddy Canton, Luke Day, Denzil Forde, Amber Jamieson and Braden May. In their game, the player follows Alice on a whimsical journey in a surreal underground setting where users have to complete different challenges to progress through the game.
You can see a flythrough of "The Wondering Lands of Alice" game below:
Dr Tom Scutt one of this year's Off the Map jury members said this about the Off Our Rockers entry:
"This game uses the British Library resources to great effect. It's levels, while clearly
influenced by the handmade aesthetic of Little Big Planet, have a dream-like
style all of their own, and are littered with wonderful touches like the faint
manuscript texture visible in the light rays. The game avoids the usual Alice
in Wonderland clichÃ©s, and instead has an main character true to the real-life Alice."
In 2nd place, is Chris Lonsdale, who created a stunning explorable garden environment called "Alice's Garden":
The 3rd place team, the fabulously named Hare Trigger, who created a delightful game called "A Curious Feeling":
Huge congratulations to all the winning entries, and I'm very pleased to say that the three games will be available for visitors to play in the British Libraryâ€™s upcoming Alice in Wonderland exhibition (20 November to 2015 to 17 April 2016).
I'd also like to offer thanks to this yearâ€™s Off the Map jury members:
- Dr Alison Gazzard, Lecturer in Media Arts and Education at UCL Institute of Education
- Dr Tom Scutt, Game Designer at Mudlark
- Robert Pratten, Co-Founder of Conducttr
- Helen Melody, British Library Lead Curator, Contemporary Literary and Creative Archives
The 2016 Off The Map competition was also launched at GameCity10 and is associated with the British Libraryâ€™s upcoming Shakespeare exhibition (15 April 2016 to 6 September 2016). A variety of illustrations, engravings, maps and sounds related to The Tempest, and castles and forests that have been used as settings in Shakespeareâ€™s plays will provide the basis for students to base their games on. Winners will be announced at the GameCity11 festival in October 2016.
For more information on the Shakespeare Off the Map competition go to http://gamecity.org/projects/off-the-map/.
The official British Library press release about the 2015 Off the Map winners can be found here.
Curator, Digital Research