north west for 2012

Tom Russotti and the Street Quest team for Blaze Festival


Tom Russotti

Artist and Director of Street Quest for Blaze Festival

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Street Quest - a game with a difference at the WE PLAY Expo

Posted 3 September 2012 by Tom Russotti in Art & Culture, What's On

I’m back in Lancashire to work with Fusion Community Arts on our latest exploration of the intersection of sport and culture: Street Quest. Street Quest is an adventure game set in the streets of Preston during the Blaze Festival at the WE PLAY Expo on September 8 and 9.

After only a couple of days working on it, I can already say it’s going to be a blast. The basic theme of the game is time travel: players will be racing through history to become master time travellers, and on the way, perform some heroic deeds. Of course, they will have to defeat some foes along the way, and best some very interesting challenges. That’s all for now, you’ll have to sign up and play to get the full experience!

But, I will talk about how this idea is developing, and how we’re learning about the process of game design, storytelling, and incorporating history into cultural projects.

We started in March, heading out into the streets to scout locations for the game. However last week we hit the ground running with a couple of great workshops to learn about the history of Lancashire. First stop was Clitheroe Castle, a massive heap of stone upon a hill overlooking the charming city of the same name. We were met there by John, a historical interpreter with full on Medieval dress, and a bleach blonde faux hawk to boot. At first, I was highly sceptical as I realised we were about to go on an extended educational tour, something I’m naturally averse to, even as an educator. But within ten minutes, John had won me and the rest of the group over with his irreverent style and profound historical knowledge. He led us up and down and around, filling us in on the long history of the castle, an architectural dissection, and the sociology of its inhabitants. He then led a workshop of medieval games, teaching us how to fence, joust, and stool ball with the best of them.

At the end of the workshop, everyone was buzzing with new game ideas, a testament to John’s enthusiasm and talent. We’ve already worked one of these games into the final product, though I can’t tell you which one, you’ll have to come along to the WE PLAY Expo to find out…

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