Text Adventure Time in St Helens

Wednesday 26 October  10.30am – 2.30pm 

St Helens Central Library WA10 1HP

FREE, drop-in

Join us as we play Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing, a new text adventure game set in the future, where humans, robots and cyborgs inhabit our world, a world where it’s still difficult to travel across the Pennines.

This event offers you the chance to explore stories, characters and real objects from the Northern Powerhouse world, as well as play classic games such as ZorkHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Planetfall.

There will also be a documentary film on show for those who want to know more about the process behind the game.

Below is a (chronological!) list of the that we’ll be playing on the day, as selected by the Text Adventure Time team:

Zork (1982) Where it all started! The game that launched an entire era of gaming! Now how do I get into that house…

Lost Frog / Merlin’s Castle (1985) – These are text adventures where you have to take objects and use them to get to the next part of the game. Unusually for puzzle adventure games (certainly unusual these days) is that you can die if you do something silly like walking off the balcony… *No browser version – play it on the day!

The Hobbit (1982) Many years before Peter Jackson, this was the closest you could get to an all-action recreation of Tolkien’s book. *Text only – minus the mind-blowing 1980’s graphics

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1984) Famously difficult adaptation of Douglas Adams’ sci fi-classic.

Quest for the Golden Eggcup (1988) A personal favourite which I’ve never quite been able to complete, despite trying regularly since I was eight years old…*No browser version – play it on the day!

Weird Tape in the Mail (2012) Short and disturbing game influenced by David Lynch’s (even more disturbing) film Lost Highway. *Over 16’s only – contains strong language

Depression Quest (2012) – A great and very playable example of contemporary designers using text games to address real life subjects.

CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE NOW A KOTAKU COMMENTER by Emily Gera Brilliantly original game probing/ridiculing the psychology of (male) commenters on video game site Kotaku.

Guilded Youth (2012) You play Tony, a fourteen-year old thief who needs some help looting the legendary Oakville Manor.  Luckily it’s the 1980s and finding fellow adventurers is just a modem squeal away…

Detritus (2013) – Just like real life, this game will not let you save or refresh the page or use the browser buttons to go backwards without breaking. Also just like real life, it probably won’t work in Internet Explorer 8 or below.

Simon reviews NP:LTS

Simon is a self confessed misadventurer, taking the odd events in his life and sharing them. He tells people he is old enough to know better, but this doesn’t seem to stop him blogging about it.

From first seeing the map of “The North 2065”, the title emblazoned on a pie, I knew I was in for something special. Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing is evocative of the text adventures of my youth. Echoes of The Hobbit, Zork, and the HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy sprung to mind as I embarked on my quest.

Watching out for technology dead zones, robots, and the impenetrable Pennines. I set out to investigate the future as imagined by the youth of Wigan, Burnley and Hull. Continue reading Simon reviews NP:LTS

NP:LTS at Wuthering Bytes

We are going to Hebden Bridge for Wuthering Bytes, a Festival of Technology in the Heart of the Pennines! I’ll give a presentation about how we made the Northern Powerhouse.

There are some fantastic speakers and then myself. Check out the line-up. We will report more after the event!

If you’ve played the game and want to see the exhibition, it’s currently in Accrington Library.

Uncover More: Arts in Libraries National Symposium

Neil and myself went to represent Re-Dock at the Uncover More : Arts in Libraries National Symposium on the 17th of July. Hosted in Leeds Library, the event was a gathering to share the past 2 years of Grants for the Arts funding. It was pretty exciting to see what other libraries have gotten up to, how library cultures have changed and what new opportunities there are in the future. leedsnp

Continue reading Uncover More: Arts in Libraries National Symposium

Gilbert plays NP:LTS

Gilbert Lowe overcomes his childhood frustrations of text adventure games, and takes Northern Powerhouse for a spin with his teenage daughter.

I was a 12 year old ignoramus in 1983, the year I first got my hands on a Commodore 64, the Zork series was in full swing and soon after, Hitchhiker’s was released. The Tri-Lambs and Omega Mus amongst my classmates were obsessed. But did I indulge? Not a chance. Those “games” were too much like homework for me. Borrrrrrring, why would I want to spend hours or even days pondering over whether or not to open doors, envelopes and even more doors when I could be mastering The Way of the Exploding Fist? ‘Text Adventure Game’: a contradiction in terms if ever there was one, as far as I was concerned.

Now it’s thirty three – or should that be eighty two – years later and my hand-eye coordination has predictably rendered my fighting days a distant memory. So when I was presented with the opportunity to open those doors and envelopes and even more doors all these years later my reply was, unsurprisingly, a less than enthusiastic “Erm, sure, ok, I suppose so. Can’t wait, I guess”. And who better to drag along for the ride with me than my hyper-critical eighteen year old daughter – to call her reluctant would be an understatement. One tough crowd to please indeed. Continue reading Gilbert plays NP:LTS

Hannah reviews NP: LST

Hannah has just completed the Raspberry Pi Creative Technologist Programme 2015 – 2016, working on a Twine + Pi game of her own. Find about more about her work and play her game here

As an already established fan of anything that revolves around dystopia and futuristic fiction, I was excited by the concept even before I had a chance to start playing the game. Speculative fiction is interesting to me not only because it allows for us to indulge in thought experiments of future world settings, but it also gives us a chance to reflect on the world we live in. Often these are vast, complex ideas that can be difficult to explore and understand. However, when playing Last Towns Standing, the enthusiasm of the participants is clear, and it pleases me to see that they clearly thought deeply about their vision of The North in 2065.

Underground Wigan, after the nuclear explosion of 2035

Continue reading Hannah reviews NP: LST

Hull Central Library workshop

Northern Powerhouse 2065 is in Hull, the most high tech and advanced city left standing. To be fair, Wigan had to deal with a nuclear fallout and Burnley is controlled by robots, so even without the bioengineered pets and chip implants it’s still a nice place to live – comparatively. After all, you can work for FutureGen (just don’t ask about the lab under the Humber) or go to school at the Education Centre.

Northern Powerhouse in Hull

We ran a public event on the 9th April with Radamés running the Bots vs Bods workshop. It’s getting quite crowded in the labs of FutureGen. A few of the Young People who were involved in the project from the beginning were there to finally see the fruits of their labours.
Continue reading Hull Central Library workshop

Wigan Library workshop

The Northern Powerhouse 2065 exhibition comes to Wigan! Ground Zero after the nuclear incident in 2035, it’s a harsh environment but one makes do with the old tech lying around. Teletext anyone? To celebrate were some of the Young People who wrote the game and a drop-in Bots vs Bods workshop with Radamés & Hwa Young on the 12th March.

Northern Powerhouse Wigan workshop

This exhibition brings theNorthern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing to life with artefakes from the game world.

Next stop for the touring exhibition is Hull Central Library (open 5 April – 7 May) with a drop-in workshop on the 9th April (11am – 2pm).


Burnley Central Library Launch

The Northern Powerhouse 2065 exhibition officially opened at Burnley Central Library on the 17th February. This exhibition brought the Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing to life with artefakes from the game world. On hand at the event were some of the Young People who wrote the game and a special drop-in workshop with Radamés & Hwa Young.  Continue reading Burnley Central Library Launch

Oscar (15) reviews Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing

I was excited to be asked to write this review before this text adventure game went live, says our young blogger Oscar (aged 15). You can play the game now too, just click here.

First of all, what a brilliant original idea this game is! The young people who created it (who are all of a similar age to me) deserve a lot of credit for all their hard work. This online text adventure game is set in 2065 after a nuclear attack in Britain leaves just three towns standing: Burnley, Wigan and Hull. It has been made by young people from these three towns with the help of artists Re-dock for their expert advice and support. The collaboration and partnership must have been a lot of fun for all involved! Continue reading Oscar (15) reviews Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing