Saturday 1st August 2015


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Reaching new audiences for games through great writing

Luke Kelly

PhD analysing the links between literature, film and videogames

“From the outset, we were looking at Christmas Day”, explains Andrew Eades. “Somebody has this new Playstation, the family are sitting down after eating a huge dinner, and that’s when you crack open Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. We’d give them a new option: ‘it’s just like a TV game show, except you get to take part’”.

Andrew is one of the developers behind Buzz! a BAFTA award winning video game that was much-praised for its ability to attract audiences who’d never sat down in front of a console before. He’s since sought to replicate this success with Blue Toad Murder Files, a puzzle game aimed squarely at the Midsomer Murders demographic – with a dose of Carry On style humour for good measure.

The ability of both of these games to reach non-traditional audiences is based partly on writing. Both were carefully scripted in order to appeal to as many Christmas Day family members as possible. Andrew’s belief was that the sort of things families enjoy watching as a group – murder mysteries and quiz shows – they’d also enjoy playing as a group. Trivial Pursuit mixed with Pointless; Cluedo with a dash of Miss Marple; the games Andrew creates are designed to slide seamlessly into those moments so many families enjoy (or indeed endure). Read more »

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Image: Penguin edition of Riddle of the Sands
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The Riddle of the Sands Adventure Club: Digital Replay and Remix

Tim Wright

Digital Writer

When you’re thinking of an old book to replay and remix into a digital form, ‘The Riddle of the Sands’ by Erskine Childers is, perhaps, not the most obvious choice.

Published in 1903, it’s a classic ‘ripping yarn’ about two men – Carruthers & Davies – uncovering a dastardly German plot whilst sailing around the Baltic and the Frisian Islands. It’s not exactly an easy read, with quite a lot of archaic language and long sentences, and there’s also a certain amount of casual sexism and racism. It’s a story about a world of Edwardian gentlemanly pursuits and crumbling European empires that pretty much got washed away by the Great War.

It is, though, a book that has never been out of print, is much loved by small boat sailors everywhere and contains breathtakingly great descriptions of real-life sailing. The voyage of the “ugly little 5-tonner” Dulcibella described here isn’t a romantic misty-eyed view of yachting. This is sea-spray in the face, cramped quarters, basic grub and oilskins.

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