THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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04 November 2014

Off the Map competition: Turning Gothic literature into games

One of our Digital Curators at the British Library – Stella Wisdom – is working on a great project to encourage games makers to use the Library’s archive for inspiration. For the last few years she’s been running Off the Map, a partnership competition with GameCity and Crytek to challenge UK higher education students to make videogames based on British Library collections.

This year’s competition had a gothic theme to accompany the Library’s current exhibition, Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. The exhibition showcases manuscripts and hand-written drafts of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and the Twilight series (check it out, it’s on in London until 20 Jan 2015).

Stella created this video which shows footage of last year’s winning entry from Pudding Lane Productions, De Montfort University. It also gives details of the 2014 gothic sub-themes and shows flythrough clips from this year’s shortlisted entries.

The third winning entry was Team Shady Agents from University of South Wales in Newport with their Edgar Allan Poe inspired game Crimson Moon. The second winning entry was Team Flying Buttress from De Montfort University, who created a visually rich interpretation of Dracula's Whitby. British Library Chief Executive Roly Keating announced the winning entry: Nix, this was created by Jackson Rolls-Gray, Sebastian Filby and Faye Allen from the University of South Wales.Using Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset for 3D gaming,it challenges players to reconstruct Fonthill Abbey via collecting hidden and moving glowing orbs in a spooky underwater world.

Of course, these projects never happen on their own. Stella worked with our Curator for Terror and Wonder Tim Pye and Tom Harper, our Maps Curator, as well as the lovely teams at GameCity and Crytek.

Plans are currently underway for the third competition: 'Alice's Adventures: Off the Map', which we are launching at the Library at the start of December. I’m also working on a few Alice-themed projects myself (watch this space).

You can read more about the project on the Library’s Digital Scholarship blog.

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