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Odyssey Jam – a follow up #WaterRead

May 19, 2017

horseserpent-tweak

In March, as part of Read Watch Play, we ran Odyssey Jam, a themed digital game jam with a literary twist. The idea behind it was to encourage people to create a text based game or piece of interactive fiction based on Homer’s The Odyssey over a 2 week period. One of the purposes of the game jam was to tie in with libraries’ core objectives of supporting literacy and supporting the development of readers and writers.

After the 2 week period we encouraged entrants to upload their entries to itch.io so that others could play them. Anyone around the world was able to enter, and at the end of the game jam we had 10 entries, including entries from people who had…

  • Never made a game before!
  • Never created a piece of interactive fiction before!
  • Never been involved in a game jam before!

It was great to see such a variety of style and content in the entries and how each developer had interpreted the theme – no 2 were the same. Some game developers chose to create pure text games (ie The Long Ing Blink; Islands and Witches), other focused on creating entries that were more visual but still included text (ie Taith; A flower from Hermes). There were humourous games (ie 108 suitors; The Perils of Penelope), games set in their original setting, and others re-set the Odyssey in a new context (ie Come Back Home; Hyperions Wake).

Game developers were also encouraged to share their work in progress on Twitter as well, and a few did just that, and it was great to see how their games were taking shape and how enthusiastic they were about their involvement in the jam.

A college in Milan also encouraged students on their creative writing course to participate and a couple of their entries were submitted to the jam.

It was great that this literary theme capture people’s interest.

I’m also aware that at least one of the developers is still continuing to develop their game, Hyperion’s Wake.

As part of Odyssey Jam we also encouraged entrants to make use of digitised images on Flickr that The British Library had released under a creative commons license [link]. We pulled together a small collection of ancient Greece themed images from the much larger collection. A couple of entries made use of these images (ie No one; 108 suitors)

The games are still available to play online, so please try them out and share.

You can also watch short play-throughs of the entries thanks to video game blogger Jupiter Hadley.

Emily Short also wrote about the game jam.

Thanks to all the game developers who got involved in Odyssey Jam (it was fun playing the entries), and thanks too to all who helped promote it.

Gary Green (Surrey Libraries)

Happy Star Wars Day, enjoy #MayTheFourth for #rwpchat

May 4, 2017

How will you be celebrating Star Wars day?  You can read, watch and play your way through the day.

When did you first see Star Wars?  What is your favourite quote?  Who is your favourite character?

You may want to celebrate with some Star Wars inspired food (the apple Yoda is amazing) or through knitting or crocheting something.

Let us know by adding #maythe4th to your #rwpchat #playread tweets and images.

May the 4th is a recent addition to the Star wars universe (see Wookipedia and Wikipedia).

4 May is Star Wars Day. Say #maythe4th if you are wondering why.

The characters are a powerful part of Star Wars…and is powerfully evocative of memories of watching Star Wars. You can explore Star Wars on twitter, instagram, and more.

There is lots of wonderful reading in the Wookieepedia, and suggestions on Goodreads too. If you are bold enough for William Shakespeare meets Star Wars, try this series by Ian Doescher, and the Star Wars sonnet generator. Enjoy #maythefourth.
Fitting for today. Some spray paint stenciling from the weekend. (Not my stencil, just my sprayin') #atat #maythefourth #art #stencil

play around with #playread this month for #rwpchat

May 1, 2017

#playread

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

This quote from William Shakespeare seems a timely way to start #playread. Watching plays, or films of plays is a perfect fit for #playread. Some theatre companies as well as offering live performances, provide streaming of performances. The (UK) National Theatre and Branagh Theatre provide performances this way. This may be the month to explore what your local theatre company is offering (or what you can watch online). You can read plays, but they really are meant to be watched, or at least listened to.

Black Children Play Outside The Ida B. Wells Homes, One Of Chicago's Oldest Housing Projects. There Are 1,652 Apartments Housing 5,920 Persons In 124 Buildings On The South Side, 05/1973

Children playing, photograph courtesy US National Archives

This month there is a key date, May the Fourth, Star Wars Day (say the date out loud and it will all become clear). You may want to cosplay (another kind of #playread) your favourite Star Wars character on this day (or every day). Cosplay could be another way to participate in #playread as you role play your fandom. You can even combine Star Wars and Shakespeare by reading the work of Ian Doescher.

Reading, watching and playing can be playful, and #playread explores these and many other interpretations for #playread, looking at whimsy, playfulness and word plays as part of reading, watching and playing. For some titles such as the Lord of the ring and the Walking dead you can read, watch and play as they are books, films/on television as well as games.

#playread may be grim, when options such as the Hunger games are about games to the death, or if you are watching, rather than reading this stories, the films can be played (another way of looking at #playread). #playread may be a time to explore writers such as Ernest Cline, whose two recent novels feature games as part of the stories. They also feature game related skills which is a reminder that read watch play is about reading, watching and playing.

Playing dvds (or streaming) is another way to try #playread. IMBd can give you lots of ideas to explore.

For #playread you can play boardgames and obtain inspiration from places such as BoardGameGeek and Tabletop. If live action role playing is more your thing, explore Nordic LARP. For another view of #playread that of exploring the past, you could consider historical reenactment or play the past (exploring the connection of games and cultural heritage).

There are lot of other games to consider including video games. You can explore the Museum of Play, and the history of electronic games. You can play some of these games online via the Internet Archive. Perhaps app based games are your thing – what are your favourites?

Reading about sport and fitness are #playread too, and lead to other activity. #playread may be what you listen to while you are getting fitter. You might like reading about sports people to find out their stories or be reading about fitness (or watching videos) as a step to improving your own health and fitness. Make sure you take an evidence based approach and not one of fake science. This might be the month the explore playgrounds as part of the #playread experience. These ones in Denmark are very beautiful.

You may play music or enjoy listening or watching music being played. Music brings a huge area to #playread as you may read the history of music and musicians, as well as explore historic and contemporary music. This may be the month to explore music from different cultures. Music is far too wide a field to link to or describe here, but share your favourites with #playread online.

There are other creative options such as Playing for time (exploring community based art). You may even find gardening, or reading about gardening a #playread as it lets you explore creativity. Cookery could also be a #playread option as you may be playful with a recipe. There are many creative options for #playread. For you it could be carpentry, bee keeping or 3D printing. Share your favourites through using #rwpchat #playread.

It may be the month for whimsical, playful reading. Steampunk could be a good fit for this (including The watchmaker of Filigree Street and The aeronaut’s windlass) as well as another good reason to explore cosplay. Reading about a character like Lord Peter Wimsey or those created by Elizabeth Edmonson or James Runcie could be a #playread.

Fantasy also has much #playread potential including the Gentleman bastard series by Scott Lynch and there are many more.

There will be a twitter discussion on 30 May starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings (Summer) Time. 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.

Use the tags #playread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #playread, so others can join in the conversation too

Today is International Tabletop Day 2017 how will you be participating? #TabletopDay #rwpchat

April 29, 2017

29 April is International Tabletop Day, you can play tabletop games yourself, or watch live streaming of other playing.  Please share your playing with  #TabletopDay #rwpchat.

Dungeons and dragons

participate in the #biographyread discussion today for #rwpchat

April 25, 2017

#biographyread

biography

Biography by Alex M Flickr Commons

The Twitter discussion takes place today, 25 April, starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. 9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 8am – 10am GMT. Note this is a staggered discussion.

At first glance #biographyread could appear to be a very narrow theme. Don’t feel you need to confine yourself to the shelves of biographies and autobiographies however, extensive and popular though they may be, because there are all sorts nooks and crannies you can explore to fit the bill.

Of course, you may wish to take the easiest option and simply read the biography of your favourite author; Claire Harman’s Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart is a great read, and Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things and Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead can really add to your understanding and enjoyment of the subjects’ novels. You’ll find autobiographies in the very same section, The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a much loved account of an inspirational and controversial life.

If you like a little darkness, true crime can be a great black hole in which to lose yourself, and if you wish for a light at the end of the nasty, murky, tunnel, try some misery memoirs for the chance to overcome evil in the end.

Write your own story, and that of your family by delving into family history research, or just watch the experts with a season or two of Who Do You Think You Are?

There’s no need to get too involved, either, you could just hang out on social media; see how your friends and celebrities are constructing the stories of their lives. Borrow a person and get the story face to face.

There’s no need to confine yourself to non-fiction (not getting into any discussion about the reliability of memory, or a tendency for overstatement), you could watch docudramas, read fiction told in first person – historical fiction, romance or crime. Read the story of a city, or novels where a city is a character in the book.

Try a microhistory, alternate history or an oral history. Podcasts are another great way to listen to people’s stories, with the bonus of leaving your hands free.

While you are reading, playing or watching your #biographyread this month, you might like to tweet about it using hashtags #biographyread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about it. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #biographyread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

 

join the #biographyread this month for #rwpchat

April 1, 2017

#biographyread

biography

Biography by Alex M Flickr Commons

At first glance #biographyread could appear to be a very narrow theme. Don’t feel you need to confine yourself to the shelves of biographies and autobiographies however, extensive and popular though they may be, because there are all sorts nooks and crannies you can explore to fit the bill.

Of course, you may wish to take the easiest option and simply read the biography of your favourite author; Claire Harman’s Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart is a great read, and Paula Byrne’s The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things and Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead can really add to your understanding and enjoyment of the subjects’ novels. You’ll find autobiographies in the very same section, The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a much loved account of an inspirational and controversial life.

If you like a little darkness, true crime can be a great black hole in which to lose yourself, and if you wish for a light at the end of the nasty, murky, tunnel, try some misery memoirs for the chance to overcome evil in the end.

Write your own story, and that of your family by delving into family history research, or just watch the experts with a season or two of Who Do You Think You Are?

There’s no need to get too involved, either, you could just hang out on social media; see how your friends and celebrities are constructing the stories of their lives. Borrow a person and get the story face to face.

There’s no need to confine yourself to non-fiction (not getting into any discussion about the reliability of memory, or a tendency for overstatement), you could watch docudramas, read fiction told in first person – historical fiction, romance or crime. Read the story of a city, or novels where a city is a character in the book.

Try a microhistory, alternate history or an oral history. Podcasts are another great way to listen to people’s stories, with the bonus of leaving your hands free.

While you are reading, playing or watching your #biographyread this month, you might like to tweet about it using hashtags #biographyread #rwpchat so that other people can have a conversation with you about it. You can add to the discussion on Pinterest too. You might like to post your photographs to Instagram or Flickr and use #biographyread #rwpchat so others can share in your reading, watching and playing.

The Twitter discussion takes place on 25 April, starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. 9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 8am – 10am GMT. Note this is a staggered discussion.

join the #waterread discussion today for #rwpchat

March 28, 2017
Reading by the sea

Image Sarah Ross/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

#waterread

There will be a Twitter discussion today, 28 March starting at 11am and 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 9am – 11am BST. Note this is a staggered discussion.
Use the tags #waterread and #rwpchat as you discuss the reading, watching playing that is your experience of #waterread, so others can join in the conversation too.

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”

– Arthur C Clarke
With water covering 70% of Earth’s surface there’s huge scope for us to discover more about it through reading, watching and playing.
Consider the following aspects when you’re thinking about #waterread.
The science of natural bodies of water, such as rivers, lakes, oceans, and how they shape the landscape of our planet.
The vessels that travel on the surface or under it – river boats; ships; hovercrafts; submarines.
Travelling the seas to discover new places and people; for adventure; or for the transport of products. Alongside this we also can see the development of shipping, ports, harbours, and how naval history has been shaped. Sometimes though, unfortunate vessels and those aboard never make it to the end of their journey, and the seas contain the remains of many shipwrecks.
As well as discovery across the oceans, we can explore beneath the surface of them and other bodies of water too. Jacques Cousteau gave us insights into life and the creatures who live beneath the waves, and technology enables us to watch live footage of locations such as the Mariana Trench.
More recently Roger Deakin gave a unique perspective in his travelogue, Waterlog, when he swam through the British Isles.
The devastating effect water and lack of it can have on the planet and its inhabitants in the forms of tsunamis, floods, and drought.
The desire to understand and take advantage of the benefits of water through engineering in the form of dams, hydro-electric power generation, bridges, canals, and irrigation systems.
Water plays an important role in sustaining life on the planet, and impacts greatly on our own health. It ensures we are able to grow food we need to survive, as well as keeping us hydrated.
As well as the benefits of technology we also have the negative impact industry can have on water, in the form of pollution.
Do you fish, and do you prefer freshwater or sea fishing? What’s the biggest one that got away from you?
The control of sources of water, the desire for countries to have control over specific bodies of water, naval battles, and the Cod Wars all highlight how politics has an impact on water too.
Water sports such as swimming, diving, boat racing, surfing. You can participate in them, or find out more about those people whose lives are focused on excelling in these sports.
Maybe you’re a fan of tear jerkers – did Love Story make you cry?
What’s your favourite water themed novel? Is it a classic such as Robinson Crusoe, Moby Dick, or Three men in a boat, or is it something more recent?
If you like your fiction with a fantastical twist try Waterworld, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Day of Creation. Or discover more about myths and legends associated with water, including Atlantis, mermaids, selkies, the Kraken, the Loch Ness monster, and other mythical creatures.
Do you have any authors you like to read when you’re around water? Maybe when you’re relaxing by the pool or on a beach. Or when you’re relaxing with a good book what’s your preferred drink? Tea, coffee, a glass of wine, perhaps?
Water and horror can be a lethal mix – the killer shark in Jaws; Piranhas; Sharknado (you’re not even safe when you’re miles away from the sea); and The Fog.