Art Museums and Games: A Suggestion for MoMA

I love MoMA Audio+ but if I worked at MoMA, I would add something…

Technology is not only changing the way we learn in formal environments, but informal environments as well.  Museums are embracing technology in a multitude of ways.  From online courses to mobile apps, museums have become advocates for educational technologies.  However, museums have yet to fully embrace the power or interactive games in the gallery space.  While some museums have introduced analog games, these are mostly geared towards children and don’t embrace the use of technology.  I believe that museums will benefit immensely by combining technology and the use of interactive games in the galleries.

Upon entering The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), you are met with choices.  Should I take an audio-guided tour?  Should I take a public tour?  Should I skip the tour altogether and explore on my own?  In a museum like MoMA, with its massive collection, the choices can be overwhelming and at times, the choice hardly feels like your own.  For example, both the audio guided tours and the public tours entail pre-chosen works of art picked by a staff member or volunteer, not the visitor.  While some visitors appreciate the direction, others walk away feeling as though their experience was stolen from them.  I wondered, how can museums create a program that helps visitors decide where to go and what to see without dictating their entire visit for them?  And furthermore, how can the museum use a program to foster an interest in modern and contemporary art?

Program Overview:

 I propose a tour program that not only utilizes technology but also allows for visitor interaction.  The program will allow visitors to cater each tour based on their interests.  The program, entitled MoMA Game+ will be administered through MoMA’s Audio+ platform.  Upon starting the game, you will be asked a series of short questions.  These questions determine the initial interests of the visitor.  Sample questions could be:

1)    Pick a medium

  1. Architecture and Design
  2. Drawings
  3. Film
  4. Media and Performance Art
  5. Painting and Sculpture
  6. Photography
  7. Prints and Illustrated Books

2)    Pick a color:

  1. Blue
  2. Red
  3. Yellow
  4. Gray

3)    Pick a term:

  1. Dada
  2. Mural
  3. Gouache
  4. Modernism

Simple questions like these will help determine a starting point.  The game will have many to begin with and each time the visitor begins the game, they will be asked one of these random questions.  All questions are meant for the visitor to begin thinking about the art they will see.  As you see from above, some questions are more vague (like color) while others are more specific.   After selecting your answer to the question, a piece of art will pop up on the screen.  The visitor now has the choice to like or dislike the piece.  If the visitor decides to “like” the piece, they will be shown a direct route on where to find it.  If they “dislike” it, a different piece will be determined by their reaction to the current selection.  Upon reaching the piece of art, the visitor will be shown a description of the piece with pertinent information such as artist, materials, and year it was created.  Using the capabilities on MoMA Audio+, the visitor has the option to listen to or view supplemental material as well.  The game will also include discussion options at each stop.  If you are with a group, you will be encouraged to discuss within your group and there will be an opportunity for every member of your group to participate through the multiplayer option.  If you are on your own, you have the option of uploading a comment to a discussion board.  MoMA Audio+ also has a camera component where visitors can take photos of themselves or the artwork and email it to themselves or friends.  The sharing component is very important to the interactive nature of the game.   At this point, future selections will be determined by the visitor’s “likes” and “dislikes”.  Visitors are essentially curating their own tour.

Another component of MoMA Audio+ is the “My Path” feature.  MoMA Game+, will also utilize this tool.  The My Path feature allows visitors to save their visit at the museum.  They can refer to it from the comfort of their homes and add to it on their next visit to the museum.  MoMA Game+, will save the visitor’s preferences and continue building upon them when they visit the museum next.  That way when visitors return to the museum to play the game again, they will be able to pick up where they left off and have a new experience each time they return to the museum.

In order to promote multiple visits, visitors can earn milestones and badges that can also be shared with their friends and on MoMA.org.  The Dallas Museum of Art recently announced a new membership program that rewards visitors for repeat visits.  DMA Friends & Partners is a membership program where members earn credits for their participation and visits to the museum.  Examples of rewards include, discounts to programs, behind the scenes access, and more.[1]  Giving visitors a goal and rewards for completing goals will have a hugely positive impact on the museum.  In the Dallas Museum of Art case, over 35,000 people have already enrolled in the program with 94% saying they had no prior relationship with the museum.[2]  MoMA Game+ will operate in a similar way, encouraging and rewarding visitors for coming back and building upon their interest in contemporary art. 

Why is technology important?

 Digital learning tools are becoming an increasingly important tool in museum education and an important tool in making the museum more accessible to the public.  The majority of the public uses technology on a daily basis, so by using technology in the gallery space, museums are able to stay relevant with a large portion of the public.[3]  The MoMA Audio+ also allows visitors to access more information than what they receive through the wall text.  For example, if a visitor comes across a piece that they are interested in learning more about, the museum now has the capabilities to share further information through this application.  Technology is increasing the size of MoMA’s audience, brand awareness, and the amount of information they are able to give to the public.  However, it’s important not to let this information get stagnant.  It should be presented in a fun and entertaining way.

 Why are interactive games important?

 Museums are utilizing educational gaming in the galleries because it is a beneficial learning tool.  In the National Public Radio (NPR) segment, Museums in the 21st Century: Interactive Games Make Museums A Place to Play, Elizabeth Blair describes a recent initiative at the Luce Foundation Center for American Art in Washington D.C.  The museum invited a group of teenagers into the museum for a “multimedia scavenger hunt where objects in the collection are part of the clues and you need cell phones with text messaging to solve them.”[4]  While research on the benefits of educational gaming is still new, Georgina Goodland of the Luce Center says that’s only part of the Center’s goal.  “Changing the mindset and having them look at an art museum in a more positive way, I think is our main goal.”[5]  Although this game is geared towards teenagers, the same idea can be applied to adults.  Beth Merritt of the Center for the Future of Museums in Washington D.C. states, “Why shouldn’t adults play games.  It’s still the most effective way to learn.”[6]  By using interactive games in the galleries, MoMA will not only create a positive environment for visitors, but they will also encourage learning.

Why MoMA?

 As I mentioned above, MoMA is already implementing their MoMA Audio+ application.  Introducing a new facet to the program will only add to the success of the program and provide visitors with more options when using the device.  Visitors would be able to choose between an already planned tour, or one that they create through playing MoMA Game+.  MoMA is just beginning to develop brand awareness through their digital programs and online presence.  This addition to the Audio + program will continue to build that brand and make MoMA a leader in interactive technologies.  In addition, MoMA currently offers gallery games for children, such as “Everyone’s a Critic” and “Material Bingo”[7].  However, they do not offer any games that use technology nor benefit an adult audience.  MoMA Game+ will be a perfect addition to MoMA’s digital offerings and fill the gap in adult gaming.

How will this benefit MoMA and its visitors?

In addition to filling the gap of adult games, MoMA Game+ will encourage repeat visits to MoMA.  Standard tours don’t have this same effect.  However, with this program, visitors will have the opportunity to see a new tour each time they visit the museum.  Thus, each visit will be uniquely theirs.  Visitors will develop an appreciation and a unique interest in art.  Like I mentioned above, MoMA is building their brand awareness through their digital presence.  With the addition of MoMA Game+, the museum will ensure a continuance in their increased brand awareness.

The bottom line is that visitors each come to the museum with a different goal in mind.  Using John Falks’ definitions of visitor characteristics[8], we can see that this program will provide at least one interest from each group.  Explorers are defined as curious individuals.  They come to museums seeking a new experience. MoMA Game+ relates to explorers the most because it provides a new experience each time a visitor uses it.  They are able to build upon their curiosities with each visit.  Socializes come to museums, typically in a group, and they are more concerned with having an enjoyable experience with their friends and family.  Using the multi-player section of MoMA Game+, a group can share one device and takes turns picking the piece of art.  With the “Discussion” tab, Socializers can discuss the art with their friends and/or in on the message board.  Hobbyists will also enjoy their experience with MoMA Game+ because it allows them to build upon their interests or form new ones.  Experience seekers, who are interested in seeing the museum’s most famous pieces, have the ability to see their own curated highlights.  Rechargers go to museums for solace and/or a spiritual experience.  Though they are the least likely to benefit from this program, I believe it will attract this group of visitors by offering a one on one experience.  Since the visitor is in control of the visit, rechargers are most likely to have a relaxing experience in front of pieces that they enjoy.  After using the game to find out what those pieces are, they can save them with the My Path feature.  This way rechargers never lose track of artwork that fuels that spiritual experience.

Conclusion

While museums have begun to explore the use of interactive gallery games, there is not a game that allows for the visitor to explore their interests in a fun, engaging and interactive way.  Adding MoMA Games+ to MoMA Audio+ will benefit the museum in countless ways.  From attracting all visitor types to increasing MoMA’s brand awareness and paving the way for interactive games for adults.  I look again to Beth Merritt of the Center for the Future of Museums.  She believes in 10-20 years, the best museums will be interactive and engaging through the use of games.  I believe we should start now.

To find a prototype of this game, click here: MoMA Game+

 

Works Cited

Blair, Elizabeth. “Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99244253&gt;.

“Dallas Museum Of Art Gets $9 Million Gift.” CBS Dallas  Fort Worth. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/11/05/dallas-museum-of-art-gets-9-million-gift/&gt;.

“Dallas Museum of Art.” Dallas Museum of Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://dma.org/Visit/Friends/index.htm#Activity_Codes&gt;.

“FAMILY VISITS.” MoMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.moma.org/learn/kids_families/visits#games&gt;.

Falk, John H.. “The Visitor.” Identity and the museum visitor experience. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, 2009. 67-89. Print.

Mazzolla, Lisa . “Marketing, Outreach, and Technology-Based Educational Experiences.” Museum Education. Museum of Modern Art. New York University, New York. 14 Nov. 2013. Lecture.

“MoMA AUDIO+.” MoMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.moma.org/visit/plan/atthemuseum/momaaudio&gt;.

Bodinson, Sara . “MoMA Audio+.” Teaching with Technology: Approaches to Mobile and Digital Learning in Museum Education. New York City Museum Educators Roundtable. Sony Wonder Technology Lab, New York City. 18 Nov. 2013. Lecture.

“The Museum of Modern Art Announces MoMA Audio+ | MoMA Online Press Office.” MoMA Online Press Office RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://press.moma.org/2013/10/moma-audio-plus/&gt;.

 

[1]”Dallas Museum of Art.” Dallas Museum of Art. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://dma.org/Visit/Friends/index.htm#Activity_Codes&gt;.

[2]”Dallas Museum Of Art Gets $9 Million Gift.” CBS Dallas  Fort Worth. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2013/11/05/dallas-museum-of-art-gets-9-million-gift/&gt;.

[3] Mazzolla, Lisa . “Marketing, Outreach, and Technology-Based Educational Experiences.” Museum Education. Museum of Modern Art. New York University, New York. 14 Nov. 2013. Lecture.

[4]Blair, Elizabeth. “Interactive Games Make Museums A Place To Play.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99244253&gt;.

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7]”FAMILY VISITS.” MoMA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.moma.org/learn/kids_families/visits#games&gt;.

[8] Falk, John H.. “The Visitor.” Identity and the museum visitor experience. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, 2009. 67-89. Print.

Art Museums and Games: Where are the games for grown-ups?

After looking at many examples of art museums’ games for children, I realized that I did not come across a single game for adults, neither digital or analog.  Why?  Museums are just as much for adults as they are for children.  Some adults find them just as boring as children do.  So why aren’t museums looking at creative ways for adult learning?  

I did find one example from the Luce Foundation Center for American Art.  In 2009, NPR produced a series on the Museums in the 21st Century.  On segment, entitled Interactive Games Makes Museums a Place to Play, looked at an alternate reality game (ARG) that the Luce Center produced.  Ghosts of a Chance was a game where, “for three months, players had to solve clues that were planted on Facebook, YouTube and other Web sites.” (NPR, 2009)  They produced a scaled down version months later.  The object of the game was to use the clues and free the restless spirits from the museum.  The game didn’t necessarily teach, but it did change the mindset of the museum, which is also important in improving the museum experience.  But honestly, the participants probably did learn something.

Beth Merritt, head of the Center for the Future of Museums, believes that in 10 or 20 years, the best museums will be as interactive and fun as alternate reality games — for both kids and adults.

“Biologically, games are how we’re hard-wired to learn — that’s its evolutionary role,” Merritt says. “Why shouldn’t adults play games? It’s still the most effective way to learn and push our buttons to get information into our heads.

I think that’s an important quote to end on… 

Art Museums and Games: MoMA Art Lab App

I want to start by saying that the Museum of Modern Art is one of my all time favorite museums.  Yes, they are always insanely crowded.  But I still believe that MoMA cares deeply about itd visitors their experiences.  Case in point, the MoMA Audio+ (which I will talk about later.)  They undertook extensive audience research and made changes in order to meet the need of their visitors.  Another program that I cannot gush enough about is MoMA Create Ability.  I have not come across any other museum that offers programs for adults with learning and developmental disabilities.  In my next blog post, I will talk about the need for variety in adult education programs, but for now, let’s talk about the MoMA Art Lap App.

There’s one major difference between this program and the others I have looked at and that’s the fact that is offered through a free app!  I’m going to admit right now that I do not know if it is easier to develop an app versus developing a game for a desktop computer.  An app seems easier and more interesting to younger generations.  It’s also something that can be easily accessed at the museum.  I cannot say for certain, but I can imagine MoMA providing iPads in a section of the gallery so that children could use this.

Since this will really be my last post about children’s games at art museums, I can say that is my all time favorite game.  First, the design is very clean and keeps MoMA’s branding.  Some of the other games did not match their museum’s branding.

There are many different play options in the game.  There’s an open play, where you can create art using shapes and colors.  There is the “ideas” section that gives you prompts on what to create.  Then there’s the “activities” section that gives you lists of specific activities to complete.

I chose an “idea”.

Choose an "idea"

Choose an “idea”

Here’s what I made.

image

 

Pros:

  • Design – So fresh and so clean!
  • Fun factor – It’s actually fun, and the ideas section provides stability!
  • Portable – This is great because it can by played in and outside the gallery.

Cons:

  • Replay-ability – Not super high because once you go through all the ideas it can get boring and repetitive.  BUT if they regularly add more ideas, then this game is great.

Art Museums and Games: National Gallery of Art: Sea-Saws

Another nautical themed game!  This time, from the National Gallery of Art (NGA).  The D.C museums have been quietly creating game based programming over the past several years.  I say quietly because most people (and by most people I mean me) did not realize this until recently.  One of the most impressive projects came from the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, which I will talk about in a later post.

Sea-Saws is one game in a series from the NGAkids Art Zone.  Right away I was impressed with the modern layout and game features.  From this page, you definitely get the sense that the NGA invests a lot of time and money in their online programs.  Who knows, maybe this has something to do with the dot gov versus the dot org.  The games are easy to find as they have their own section under “Education”.  The games are less educational in the sense that you aren’t learning facts, but you are learning art historical terms and ideas through creating your own art.

I think this game is targeted towards older, tech savvy children because it took me much longer to figure out the gameplay than it normally does.  I often don’t read directions for digital games because the majority of the time, games are intuitive.  There were aspects that were definitely intuitive, but there were also aspects that were not.

When you start the game, there aren’t really any instructions.  There are some instructions pages below, but if you click them then you’re taken out of the game and to a new page with the instructions.  I can’t imagine a young child grasping the game right away, so the NGA might want to rethink that idea.

My other observation was that the design was not very kid friendly.  The text is very small and quite frankly, it’s boring.  The design doesn’t hold my attention for more than 5 minutes, so it probably won’t hold a child’s attention.

 

Not very kid-friendly...

Not very kid-friendly…

 

The idea of the game is to

Select photographs of natural and man-made objects, then assemble the pieces to create a seascape or an abstract composition. The BUILD tool helps you construct animated characters. ADD them to your scene as still objects, movers, rockers, or rollers. Hit the green PLAY button to set the scene in motion.

The materials are amazing!  There’s a wide array of objects to choose from!  The possibilities are pretty endless.  My favorites were the blue and green colored glass.  I obviously used that for the ocean.  I spent at least 20 minutes designing a scene and then got confused about how to delete an object and ended up clearing the ENTIRE design.  Which is why you won’t be able to see my finished product.  Sorry.

Pros:

  • Interesting concept – found materials are one of my favorite mediums and it teaches students to look critically at objects
  • Replay-ablity is HUGE.  You could create so many designs and there is the option to print or save them.
  • Design is pretty impressive and looks updated

Cons:

  • Confusing instructions – I still do not know how to delete an object…
  • Design isn’t very kid friendly – Looks like it’s targeted to adults rather than children
  • Educational value – This game is definitely fun, but I would really like to see how it connects to the museum and its objects.  Not once does it mention an artist who uses found objects.

Coming up next is MoMA!

Art Museums and Games: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Shipwreck

The next museum in the series is the world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I have to admit, I did not think the Met even offered games, either digitally or in the gallery.  Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that the Met is not the stodgy institution it used to be, especially compared to the tech savvy Museum of Modern Art.  But alas, the Met does offer digital games on its website!  The one that seemed most appealing was Shipwreck: An Ancient Sea Trade Game.  The premise of the game is that you are shipwrecked and in order to repair your boat you have to answer a series of questions.  The “board” is a map with various pins.  In order to find the answers to the questions, you must find the pin using the coordinates that are given to you.  I love the way the Museum incorporated not only historical facts, but also directional skills.  I would never associate that skill as 1) a skill that is even taught anymore and 2) that an art museum would be the resource to teach that skill.  It makes complete sense for the game though.

Pins, and maps, oh my!

Pins, and maps, oh my!

Once you answer each question correctly and finish repairing your boat, you move on to level 2.

You've repaired your boat, now you have to...answer more questions.

You’ve repaired your boat, now you have to…answer more questions.

Now that your ship is up and running, you have to answer a new set of questions in order to collect goods from each port.  Most of the questions are related to the types of goods that are available or needed at one particular port.  If you lose all three lives, a wave or giant squid devours your boat.  All of the answers can be found on an information tab next to the question.  If you answer all of these questions, congratulations, you’re a successful and wealthy trader.

Congrats!  Game over.

Congrats! Game over.

I really like the game!  I think it’s aimed at an older audience, as there is a lot of text and unless you have some world history knowledge, this game will be irrelevant and also quite boring.  I do think the amount of text and the quiz nature of the game might act as a deterrent for most children.  However, there is something to be said about reading information and then having to apply that knowledge.  It’s a tried and true method and this game uses that but in a “gamified” way.  So in that sense, the learn and quiz method is successful.

I absolutely love the graphics!  They’re simplistically beautiful and give off an aurora of travel and history through the use of maps and the drawings.  At the same time, the game is obviously modern in its mechanics and design.

There’s little chance of replay-ability, but I do think the questions are randomized.

Overall, I am impressed with the game and look forward to exploring other games that the Met have on their website.

Art Museums and Games: Getty Games

The Getty is a fantastic institution whose educational programs are well-respected in the museum education field.  The mission states:

The J. Paul Getty Museum seeks to inspire curiosity about, and enjoyment and understanding of, the visual arts by collecting, conserving, exhibiting and interpreting works of art of outstanding quality and historical importance. To fulfill this mission, the Museum continues to build its collections through purchase and gifts, and develops programs of exhibitions, publications, scholarly research, public education, and the performing arts that engage our diverse local and international audiences. 

I was thrilled to find “Getty Games” amongst their online programs.  It’s 100% accessible as no log in is required, and the programs can be found under the “To Do At Home“.  Like the Tate’s Race Against Time, the games are not meant to played in the gallery and are not available as apps.

I started with the “Detail Detective” game primarily because of its catchy name.  We discussed the importance of name in our Games and Play in Education class.  The name must attract but also must NOT mislead the user into thinking the game is more than it is.  The game starts with a screen that allows the user to pick a theme.  1 point for allowing the user to have some control of the content!  Museums are notorious for controlling every piece of information.  Unfortunately I had to immediately take this point away  due to the obnoxious sound that is impossible to turn off unless you silence your computer.  Trust me.  It’s terrible.  At this point I started to realize how outdated the game design was.  It looks like it was created in the early 2000s.  The design is very simple, which is not necessarily bad, until if affects the gameplay.

 

Image

The different themes.  

 

I picked “Swanky Surfaces”.  Again, this was strictly because of the name.  I have to say, I am disappointed that they could not come up with a more exciting title to “Architecture”.  I think they could have done better than that.

I surmised from the title that I would be looking at details of objects and art, and having to match it to the correct object.  I am not sure a child would be so intuitive.  Unfortunately there are not instructions until you get to the start of the game.  At this point you are already being timed.  You waste roughly 10 seconds trying to read the instructions.  In that sense, the game is quite difficult.  Some of the images did not load properly, which made it impossible to play the game.

Image

Here’s a challenge!  How do I play a game that’s invisible??

 

I have several important critiques of the game:

1) Outdated:  This game is so obviously outdated that it’s painful to play.  Children are growing up with incredibly imaginative and innovative games and programs.  And I know that they Getty understands this per their recent partnership with the innovative digital learning site, Khan Academy.  The museum should consider updating their website.  Please start with the sound.

2)  You do not learn anything while playing:  The game includes an icon shaped like a book.  Clicking that leads you to more information about the artwork, but you have to interrupt the game in order to access this information.  By playing this game, you learn absolutely nothing about the objects.

3) Why is this game timed?  You’re supposed to be studying details of artwork.  Imagine you’re at an actual museum looking at art and suddenly a buzzer goes off and you have to move on.  I guarantee that no one would come back.  It is almost as obnoxious as that sound at the beginning of the game.

I sent a tweet out to the Getty inquiring when the last time this program was updated.  I’ll updated this post if I receive a response!  I’m hoping they’ll reply with “We’re working on it now!”  Solid effort, but it seems like one of those programs that was created for the sake of creating one.

UPDATE:  The Getty tweeted back!  They admitted it had been a while since they last updated the games, but they did create a mobile game.  It’s really geared towards children who are at museum, rather than those who are interacting virtually.  That’s not to say that the Getty is not being accessible to those outside of the Los Angeles area.  I noted above that they recently partnered with the Khan Academy.  They were the first museum to do so.  The Met and MoMA has also followed suit and recently partnered with the Khan Academy.

 

Art Museums and Games: The Tate’s Race Against Time

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, museums and games are a tricky subject.  There are those who applaud the attempt at making exhibits more interactive, and there are those who label ‘interactives’ as distractions.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I think including educational games is an important addition that more art museums should invest in, but I also believe that if they aren’t using the museum objects than they are not adding to the museum visit.  Instead, they are distracting.  My first game evaluation comes from the Tate.  In 2012, the museum released its first app game, Race Against Time.  The game is available for a free iPhone download in the App Store.  One point for accessibility!  Anyone, well anyone with an iPhone, can download the game and play it!

The game follows the clever narrative of a chameleon who is traveling through art history to stop Dr. Greyscale from removing all of the color from the world.  You, as the chamelon, have to jump over obstacles as the background transforms into different moments in art history.  One of my favorites was level three where you have to avoid spiky cacti.  Why?  Well it’s 1922 and you might be looking at one of Diego Rivera’s murals.

Image

I love the narrative.  I think it is very clever.  The game definitely gets points for the story and for the simple, yet creative design.  I also love the incorporation of art historical facts.  However, you don’t see them unless you die and click the question mark on your headstone.  Therefore, you have the potential of playing the game without ever seeing any of this information.  

Image

The age range for this game varies drastically.  All you really have to know how to do is operate a touch screen.  There are no prerequisites for succeeding in the game as you do not need to know any art history before playing the game.  In terms of re-playability, the score is low.  The game doesn’t change. except for the backgrounds and objects to avoid, and the narrative does not change level to level.  In my opinion, that is a great missed opportunity.  The narrative is great!  Take advantage of that, continue the story throughout the levels so we can see if our work is succeeding in keeping color in the world.  

I liked the game, but I did not love it.  To summarize:

Pros:

-Creative narrative

-Interesting graphics/design

-Incorporation of art historical facts

-Accessibility, free and digital (do not have to be physically present at museum in order to play)

-Background music is from that era depending on what level you are one

 

Cons:

-No re-playability

-Timing of facts, why are we “punishing” our kids with art history facts when they die?

-Dull, game play does not change.

Another gripe I had is that the connection to the Tate is lost when you begin playing the game.  You see the the museum prominently featured in the introduction, but not after that.  I almost forgot who created the game.

Jane Burton, Head of Content and Creative Director, Tate, says:

“Our aim is to bring art to new audiences who are interested in a more playful experience than cultural institutions typically offer.  With stunning graphics, addictive gameplay and stylish soundtrack we think Race Against Time will do just that.”

I’m not quite sure who they are addressing.  The game is clearly targeted at children, but she does not explicitly say this in her quote.  The museum needs to do a better job of addressing their audience.  Adults will not play this game, but might be interested in a more playful experience. 

Another question she does not address is that of the replacement of the physical visit.  She might be trying to reach a new audience with this game, but how will this game welcome them to the museum?  It doesn’t.

Overall, I liked the game but I did not love it.  I was very excited to try it out after looking at some of the other games offered through the Tate website but was a little disappointed at its delivery.  I may explore the Tate’s other games in a later post, but for now, keep on learning!