20 April 2021
A Novel Approach To Novels That Shaped Our World!
It is wonderful to be collaborating with Leeds Libraries on their online Games Jam this month, which is encouraging people to create playful interactive adaptations of books in the BBC’s Novels that Shaped Our World list.
In my experience game jams are a brilliant way of bringing historic and literary digital library and archive collections to life in a completely new way. I’ve ran a few at the British Library and I’m always keen to share what I’ve learned with other libraries, including contributing to Living Knowledge Network skills sharing events, such as one we held on the topic of games and playfulness in libraries, in November 2017 at Leeds Central Library, you can read more about this here.
There are endless possibilities for adapting works of literature into games and interactive experiences. Earlier this year I attended an Oxford/London IF meetup group online event, where Emily Short gave a fascinating talk about the storylet game design process for creating Orwell’s Animal Farm an indie adventure game, which is based on George Orwell’s novel, where all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. There is a review of this game here.
Leeds Libraries have programmed a range of online events to inspire creativity, as part of their games jam. Last week I attended a thought provoking workshop led by Liz Cable on how to create literary escape rooms. It made me think of a very atmospheric Dracula inspired escape room called Carfax, situated in a sandstone cave system, which I had visited in Nottingham a few years ago. During the covid-19 pandemic Cave Escape have reworked this game into an online escape experience called Carfax - The Hunter, so anyone can play a version of this game from home.
Liz has a wealth of knowledge about all types of game making tools, apps and platforms, which she generously shares. I first met her at the MIX conference at Bath Spa University back in 2015, where she took me and a few other conference delegates to an escape room in Bath. This was the first time I had been to one; so it was Liz who opened my eyes to a new world of escape game experiences!
There are still more excellent Leeds Libraries Games Jam online events coming up this week:
- On Wednesday 21st April Rhian Isaac and Josh Flint from Leeds Libraries will discuss the real life histories behind some of the well-known books from the BBC Novels That Shaped Our World list, register here for the Behind the Books event.
- On Thursday 22nd April Ann Jones from Cards or Die board gaming will be running a workshop on Rule Breakers - Creating a world with components. Ann has ran three previous workshops on 1. Adventure: Co-operative Games, 2. Life, Death and other worlds - solo games and voting, and 3. Crime and Conflict - programming, asymmetry and silence.
- On Friday 23rd April there is a Game Creation event with Leeds Libraries and Leeds Museums.
- On Saturday 24th April, I’ll be in conversation on a panel with Liz Cable and Ann Jones, which will be followed by an event where VR artist Rosie Summers will create an interpretation of Narnia using Tilt Brush.
1 WEEK! Till my live #VR performance with @leedslibraries ✨— Rosie Summers 🥽✨ (@VR_Rosie) April 17, 2021
Travel with me through the virtual wardrobe and into the fantastical Narnia! Join me live as I paint this magical Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe tribute, in VR. 💫❄️https://t.co/qaJUeI2xh6
See you there! #tiltbrush pic.twitter.com/ZcqROpQZqX
The Novels that Shaped Our World jam itself is taking place over Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th April. Thanks to Libraries Connected and Arts Council England there is a £150 prize for the winner and two £50 prizes for the runners up. More information can be found here.
If you are considering taking part, but are unsure where to start, then you may also be interested in reading this Writing Tools for Interactive Fiction blog post by my colleague Giulia Carla Rossi, which describes a number of free online tools that don’t require any previous programming knowledge. I also recommend joining the jam's Facebook group, where participants can talk to each other and ask questions. Good luck if you make and submit a game, I’m looking forward to reading and playing the entries.