Surviving Basel 1610 / A serious game based on the historic Merian Map by Historisches Museum Basel

«It’s the year 1610. Your name is Konrad, a young doctor of medicine. You’re on your way to Basel, the home of the famous doctor Felix Platter. Platters tremendous experience will help you to eventually graduate your studies. It is in this very moment that the plague breaks out. The city is up in arms. People fall ill. You better find Platter. Hurry up!»

Starting Point
400 years ago, in May 1615, Matthäus Merian the Elder dedicated his town map to the council of Basel. Today the original pen and ink drawing of the map of 1615 is located in the Museum of History in Basel. The historic town map is considered to be one of the most formative pieces of the history of Basel. However, the knowledge around the town map is increasingly getting lost. Especially younger people who consider the museum an uncool place cannot identify themselves with the object anymore. As a result the Basel Historical Museum and the Department of Art History of the University in Basel reinvented the Merian Map by the realization of a serious game.

Why a Computer Game?
The decreasing popularity of the Merian Map can be considered a clear warning of changing methods and finding new ways of education. From the very beginning it has become clear that the aim is to create a product complementing the historic town map instead of replacing it. The idea of the new product was to focus on the adventures and the stories of the early 17th century using the advantages of digital media. A serious game seemed a suitable product to implement just that.

Unique Selling Proposition
In today’s museum scene computer games are considered a novelty. It opens up vast opportunities in terms of education as well as in reaching out to new audiences:

People cannot only play the game right next to the original town map in the museum itself but more so at home. Consequently the stories of the Merian Map are no longer bound to physical premises but can be experienced all around the world.

The focus no longer lies on museum visitors only but a large number of people who value digital game based learning. This audience features a multitude of profiles such as casual gamers, the Generation Y and Z as well the so called «Silver Surfers», a strongly increasing user group of elderly people which have developed an affinity for the World Wide Web.

Launching the game
The prototype of the game will be available in December 2015. During the launch of the prototype the project team conducts additional testing allowing target audiences to play the game and hand in their feedback. This feedback will be considered for the later development of the full version.

Technical Specifications
«Basel 1610» is a point and click adventure in the tradition of genre classics like «King’s Quest» or «Monkey Island». The prototype is based on the game engine unity and playable right in your browser. An iOS as well as an Android-App are to be implemented at a later stage. All graphics are hand drawn, the animation of the characters was realized with a Spine-Software. The prototype currently features a German version; other language versions are in the planning.

Cooperation
"Surviving Basel 1610" is a cooperation of: Historisches Museum Basel (HMB) University of Basel, Department of Art History ui/deation GmbH and Co. KG, Cologne/Munich The GoodEvil, Cologne

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