Found the Lost Frog in St Helens

During St Helens Central Library SHINDIG, we took over the computer room to play some text adventure games. We played some real old classics – Merlin’s Castle, Lost Frog, Quest for the Golden EggcupZork and some new – Northern Powerhouse: Last Towns Standing and Wray Castle Text Adventure Game. 

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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

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.
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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).


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

Adding the Final Touches to Text Adventure Time

Saturday 7 November saw the second summit for Networked Narrative take place, and with it the conclusion of the Text Adventure Time project, an online game that young people from Wigan, Burnley, and Hull have been working on since April. Ilona Walker reports back

The project, led by Debbie Chan from FACT and artists from Re-Dock, aims to interest young people in art who are from areas that usually have a lower level of engagement. The project will result in a game, which will be launched online in January 2016, alongside a collection of ‘artefakes’ – objects from the dystopian world created during the project – which will be shown in a touring exhibition in the new year in Wigan, Burnely and Hull.

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Wigan Summit review

Last weekend was the 2nd summit and unfortunately the last network narrative event for us in Wigan. Firstly in pairs we tried other people’s games to check what’s good about them and what’s needs improving in particular dead links. We played through three stories and I was surprised by how varied each story was with everything from spooky abandoned libraries to robots that eat bullets, no one story was similar.

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Co-creator from Wigan says…

My first text adventure time event was very enjoyable with all the support and ideas generated from staff and fellow young people alike. From playing Zork and other text adventure games I was reminded of reading the old give yourself Goosebumps books and I wasn’t great at them either. The old games were really useful in showing what works well (the unpredictability of not knowing what choice will leave you dead) and what doesn’t (the games only recognise certain words like examine, even though study means the same) in these games. So in designing my story I decided to choose real places rather than the compass directions as I find it easier to remember and to have several potential endings. Continue reading Co-creator from Wigan says…