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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Literary Inspirations

    - staff

  • Shaun Conde Spelman, The Hunting of the Snark

    Lewis Carroll's Hunting of the Snark, like Alice in Wonderland, is a whimsical, strange story involving a Bellman, a Boots, a Bonnet-maker, a Barrister, a Broker, a Billiard-marker, a Banker, a Butcher, a Baker, and a Beaver. The Bellman (with a blank map) brings these characters together in a ship to travel across the sea and hunt snarks.

    The game could be a simple 2-d flash based game online (since the poem is relatively short), with an interface like an old book,. The purpose of the game would be to promote reading in younger children, using the art to help the children visualize the story and the interactive game section to immerse them so they are more apt to follow the story through and comprehend it.

    As they enact the simple point and click adventure, a narrator (a fun English voice like John Cleese would be preferred) will voice over a couple of stanzas before the next section, telling the story and giving the player a clue as to what to do next. Though some of the words might be out of the grade level of the child, the child can click on any word within the stanza they are playing and get its meaning in the formal definition and a picture or animation showing what it is or means. The settings will also have various other things players can click on, causing little animations to occur (like Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections series).

    Example. (see picture) Reading the stanzas, the player clicks on fashion and the Cheshire Cat helps define what the word means. The Cheshire Cat can also appear magically on the book and make humorous comments on pictures and definitions.

    The end of the poem raises the question as to whether the Banker disappears because of a Boojum (a nasty kind of snark) or Boots because all he musters before never being seen again is "It's a Boo-".

    The game would serve a second purpose of becoming a simple detective game for those kids who want to delve deeper into the story (at the same time teaching children subtext). The story would be the same as before but from different view points from the first. This would inevitably lead the player into seeing the story if it was Boots instead of a Boojum at the end.

    Overall the game will hopefully increase reading and vocabulary, engage the reader's imagination, and show that Lewis Carroll's works might seem absurd but in actuality hold a great many lessons and morals for the reader looking to dive deeper into the looking glass.


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