Gamification Seminar and Think Tank in Reykjavik, March 2018

Have you thought of gamifying your heritage content? What does that actually mean? At the Let's Play with Heritage Seminar and Think Tank we learned from keynote speakers and the Icelandic Game sector how aspects of gaming could be integrated into heritage practices.

The Seminar and Think Tank, organised by Gunnarsstofnun and Locatify at Gerduberg in Reykjavik on the 16 March 2018 provided us with a lot of food for thought.

The day started with a presentation by keynote speaker Ed Rodley, Associate Director of Integrated Media at Peabody Essex Museum entitled The Future of Playing with the Past: New Opportunities in Interpreting Cultural Heritage.

Ed spoke about the expectations visitors of our museums have when they enter the building defined by the surrounding and the cultural understanding, and about Interaction Alibis - adults need an excuse to play. Ed also discussed the challenges of collaboration between museum professionals and game designers. Opportunities for collaboration / learning for the heritage sector from the gaming industry: - creating story worlds (e.g. stepping into a painting, discovery tours) - designing communities (e.g. form communities around interests, sustain them) - dealing with transgressive behaviour (e.g. create a framework of behaviour). He reminded us that collaborations between the gaming and the heritage sector have tremendous potential to generate new and valuable kinds of experiences.

Our own Alan Miller, Lecturer at the University of St Andrews spoke about Playing with Heritage, the Digital and the Real, a Systems Perspective. Alan offered insights into a model of St Andrews Cathedral and discussed the benefits of its development for local audiences. He advocated for experiential learning. He said that using technologies of today enables us to create access to a wealth of data, and everyone can contribute. Digital literacies are becoming more advanced, and so do technologies.

The presentation Indirect Augmented Reality, Cultural Heritage and Gamification by Gunnar Liestøl, Professor in Dept. of Media & Communication at the University of Oslo highlighted gamification as ‘a way to increase the attractiveness and user involvement in communicating a topic (field of knowledge) by adding elements of gameplay’. He used the Actant Model and adapted it to a gaming context: a narratological model that helps define the actors of the game. Gunnar showed us examples of his work at Omaha Beach and Phalasarna sitsim. These augmented reality applications use simple game elements - feedback, reward - without them getting in the way of mediating historical content. His current project is reconstructing the town hall square of Old Narva. Photogrammetry of a paper model + use of archival images to reconstruct the town. The game element is a jigsaw puzzle, and the purpose is to find the position of the photographer.

Lemke Meijer, Interaction Designer at Gagarin presented Gamification in Interactive Media for Museums. Lemke asked the pertinent question, how can we engage people to be active outside the filter bubble of the technology in our pocket? Our information is defined by algorithms. We want people to be surprised, to ask questions and to give them more access to information that is not filtered. When working with their clients Gagarin start with the content and the space and create the story in-between. How can we look at the content from different perspectives, and how can we share these views? As exhibition example Lemke presented their installation at the LAVA Centre from 2017, using narratives for mountains to help understand geological time. Lemke advocates for tangible interaction, she wants to engage the whole person in an experience, not just their heads. At Þingvellir there are no remains at the site, but the sagas tell us about the events at the site. A digital model was created with re-enacted scenes of the event. “We want the visitor to be in there, not just a spectator.”

The afternoon say different workshop sessions, demos, think tank discussions and an exhibition of new games. 

Workshops & demonstrations

  • Digital content creation - digital humans from all ages Ari Knörr & Halldór Braga, PuppIT & Technical College of Reykjavik
  • Game mechanics to enhance the learning experience Niall Mc Shane, Ulster University
  • Engaging with the past, through mixing realities Catherine Cassidy & Alan Miller, SMART History
  • Mobile applications workshop: engaging visitors with immersive experiences Steinunn Anna Gunnlaugsdóttir, Locatify
  • Player participation in Citizen Science research Pétur Örn Þórarinsson, Sólfar Liminal World (Jaðarheimar) – experience Iceland’s hidden world through mixed reality Kristín Mjöll Jakobsdóttir, Ólöf Magnúsdóttir & Sólrún Ingvadóttir, Jaðarmiðlun ehf. SARPUR – Icelandic collective cultural history CMS Vala Gunnarsdóttir, Sarpur
  • Map database of heritage sites and ruins in Iceland (Minjavefsjá) Oddgeir Isaksen, National Heritage Agency of Iceland Skriduklaustur monastery treasure mobile game ­(Fjársjóðir Skriðuklausturs) Birkir Brynjarsson, Gunnarsstofnun

Think Tank - work groups

  • Workgroup 1 (English) This workgroup will focus on the use of gamification within the CINE project
  • Workgroup 2 (English) This workgroup will focus on how the heritage sector and gaming industry can work more and efficiently together for innovation.
  • Workgroup 3 (Icelandic) Þessi vinnuhópur mun reyna að kortleggja möguleika og móta framtíðarsýn í nýtingu leikjavæðingar við miðlun og skráningu náttúruminja og menningararfs.