A DIY Game that Saved a School from COVID Ennui

A DIY Game that Saved a School from COVID Ennui

Paul Darvasi, Educator, Royal St. George's College/University of Toronto; Nicholas Vassos, President, NJAV ProductionsTrack 4 GAMES IN K-12

Paul Darvasi
Royal St. George's College/University of Toronto

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Nicholas Vassos
NJAV Productions
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Circle 1964 is an online game designed and developed by a teacher and student team in response to the Covid-19 lockdown. The DIY game was played over the course of a month and employed a potent elixir of freely-available tools and platforms to create a memorable and engaging narrative puzzler experience. The game leveraged the school's digital archives, including images, maps, documents and yearbooks to build puzzles and foreground the school's rich history. Additionally, location-based tools were used to invest the physically separated community of teachers and students in the urban school's physical location by virtually incorporating popular neighborhood haunts, streets, and businesses in the game. Participation was voluntary, and hundreds of students and faculty joined and played during the month-long event, many claiming it was the perfect antidote to the strict pandemic lockdown.

The presentation hosted by the teacher-student team will discuss the compelling story of how the game was conceived and developed, while also reviewing the various tools and software that were creatively repurposed to develop the engaging online experiences. The presenters will share many of the tips and tricks that they learned. The game's emphasis on activating archival material would also be of interest to libraries and museums seeking to engage their communities. Regardless of technical proficiency, this session will empower and inspire attendees to experiment and create their own games to help bring people together at a time where community has never been more important.

Attendees will learn:

- About the online game's unique structure and mechanics
- How to connect patrons and communities to archival material
- How to leverage location-based services to simulate geographic access
- How to re-purpose free online tools to create games

Mon 12:00 am - 12:00 am