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46 fantastic entries submitted Gothic Novel Jam #GothNovJam #classicread

August 29, 2018

DG8MRQeXcAQLTja (1)During July, in partnership with the British Library, we ran the Gothic Novel Jam, and we’ve only just finished trying out all the fantastic entries.

As a reminder, Gothic Novel Jam inspired participants to create something (anything!) based on the gothic novel genre. We also had a sub-theme of “The monster within”. By the start of it over 170 people had signed up to participate, and this resulted in 46 gothic themed entries submitted by people from all around the world including UK, Australia, America and France.

Most entries were digital games, and these spanned a range of genres themselves, including interactive fiction and text based games; 2D & 3D explorers, and arcade games.

As well as the digital games it was also great to see a short story, poem, random headstone generator, audio piece, Lair of the White Worm Kewpie doll, and a table top role playing storytelling game based on a Victorian seance submitted.

Guildford based game development company, Media Molecule, also got involved and created a stunning gothic game level in just over an hour with their newest game/game development engine Dreams. You can see the video of this here.

The Bitsy game development community also got involved with a monthly game jam that tied in with Gothic Novel Jam. Bitsy is a modern game making tool designed to create early 1980s style 2D games. This resulted in 10 original Bitsy games/stories being submitted to Gothic Novel Jam as well.

One of the ideas of the game jam was to encourage participants to use British Library images stored on Flickr as inspiration for their entries. In many cases the image, like the gothic novel genre, was a jumping off point for people and was used as inspiration. In other cases they were an integral part of the story. As a glow brings out a haze is a lovely example of how the illustrations could be used as a key part of the storytelling.

As you’d expect, there were some common themes (mansions, castles, hauntings, mystery, terror, horror), but it also spread out into LGBTQ++, southern and modern gothic, humour, and abstract forms.

It was interesting and exciting to see people’s projects take shape throughout July, as they shared their projects via the official discussion forum and other social media.

Thanks to everyone who submitted entries, or even attempted to participate but didn’t quite make it. We appreciate your getting involved. The entries were unique, interesting and fun to explore and experience, with lots of lovely art and engaging storytelling. We’re so pleased that this theme inspired so many people.

Thanks also to those who supported the jam by spreading the word and encouraging people to get involved, including Read Watch Play partners, the British Library, Media Molecule, the Bitsy community, and the International Gothic Association. The jam will also be saved as part of the UK Web Archive project.

Finally, all of the Gothic Novel Jam entries are available for anyone to play etc for free. We encourage you to try them out, and discover how the gothic novel has inspired so many people in so many different ways.

Gary Green (Surrey Libraries)

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