Digital scholarship blog

Enabling innovative research with British Library digital collections

30 October 2020

Mind Your Paws and Claws

I’m not a summer creature, autumn is my favourite time of the year and I especially love Halloween. It is a perfect excuse for reading ghost stories, watching folk horror films and playing spooky videogames. If this sounds like fun to you too, then I recommend taking a look at the games created for Gothic Novel Jam.

Screen capture of the Gothic Novel Jam website with thumbnails of the games made as part of this jam

One of my favourite entries is The Lady's Book of Decency, A Practical Treatise on Manners, Feeding, and Etiquette, by Sean S. LeBlanc. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that it is a real howl! - also remember that this year there is a full moon on 31st October.

Game makers taking part in Gothic Novel Jam were encouraged to use images from the Ghosts & Ghoulish Scenes album in the British Library's Flickr site, which are all freely available for artistic and commercial reuse.

It is always a pleasure to see how creatives use the Flickr images to make new works, such as animations, like The Phantom Monk shown below, made by my talented colleague Carlos Rarugal from the UK Web Archive. He has animated a few spooky creatures for Halloween, which will shared be shared from the WildlifeWeb Archive and Digital Scholarship Twitter accounts. My colleague Cheryl Tipp has been Going batty for Halloween, making a Flappy Bat online game using Scratch, and the UK Web Archive have been celebrating their crawlers with this blog post.

Video created by Carlos Rarugal, using a British Library digitised image from page 377 of "The Lancashire Witches. A novel". Audio is Thunder, Eric & May Nobles, Wales, 1989 (W Thunder r3 C1) and Grey Wolf, Tom Cosburn, Canada, 1995 (W1CDR0000681 BD9)

If you enjoy making games and works of interactive fiction, then you may want to sign up to participate in AdventureX Game Jam, which is taking place online, during 14-28 November 2020. The jam's theme will be announced when AdvXJam opens on the 14th November. You are invited to interpret the theme in any way you choose, and AdventureX are very open-minded about what constitutes a narrative game. All genres, styles and game engines are welcome, as they are very keen to encourage participants to get involved regardless of background or experience level. 

Sadly the AdventureX Narrative Games Convention event is cancelled this year due to Covid-19, but we are hoping that the online AdventureX Game Jam will bring some cheer, creativity and community spirit during this year's International Games Week in Libraries in November. So keep your eyeballs peeled for blog posts about this jam next month.

This post is by Digital Curator Stella Wisdom (@miss_wisdom)