This is a guest post from Fabio Viola.
Sometimes dreams come true. For a guy grew up in the ’80s with a game pad in his hands and history in his mind, the co-presence in the same space of astonishing Farnese’s collection statues and displays showing a videogame has been a “connecting the dots” moment.
Yesterday the Archeological Museum of Naples showcased “Father and Son”, a coming soon videogame that set a first time, in Italy and worldwide, of a museum acting as a pure game publisher. Since the’90s, cultural institutions has experienced videogames mainly as an educational platform with the aim to spread the message among a young audience (k6 target). With Videogames entered in the adulthood and videogamers almost equally split among men and women aged 35 years old, I strongly believe it is the right time to connect this young art form with the “established” cultural forms creating an intangible thread between on-site and online experience. A useful tool to bring the museum outside the museum and shift from the “traditional “storytelling to what I call storydoing.
“This game helps us to achieve one of the museum’s new Strategic Plan objectives activating a new way to connect with the audiences. From anywhere around the world, you can interact with our Institute and the city of Naples. We want to be perceived in the world as an innovative hub, a place where the cultural vision is pursued without barriers”, says museum’s director Paolo Giulierini
Father and Son is a 2D side scrolling narrative game that explores the feelings of love, dreams, fear and the passing of time through the story of an archaeologist and the son he never knew. Throughout the game, the main character crosses the lives of people from different historical eras: Ancient Rome, Egypt and Bourbon Naples. What begins as a personal experience, becomes a universal and timeless story where the present and the past are a set of meaningful choices. Players will assume the role of Michael: after receiving a letter from his archaeologist father he never knew, the protagonist goes to MANN to find out more. From here a journey through the ages begins, from ancient Rome to Egypt, passing through the Bourbon age and coming up to the Naples of today. The player will thus be able to explore the streets of Naples, along the halls of the museum and interact with the stories through the ages.
Ludovico Solima, associate professor of Management of Cultural Organizations, Second University of Naples:
“With ‘Father and Son’ the museum aims to reach and engage new worldwide audiences in an unexplored way. We’ll evaluate carefully the qualitative and quantitative results of this first time approach to the gaming”.
In Father and Son, each player’s choice will affect the story and lead to different endings. Michael will interact with different characters and will have to make important decisions that can influence the entire narrative. The aim is to fill in gaps not only about his father’s life, but also the characters he meets along the way. And only at the end, will Michael be able to rediscover himself, thanks to meetings with characters from the past and present.
All this would not be possibile without TuoMuseo, a no profit organization active in the intersection between cultural heritage and videogames/gamification made up of a team with years of experience in the industry: Fabio Viola (Electronic Arts Mobile, Vivendi Games Mobile,), Sean Wenham (Ubisoft, Sony), Alessandro Salvati, Arkadiusz Reikowski, Salvatore Savino, Vitalba Morelli, Massimiliano Elia, Fabio Sarracino.
The free game will be downloadable on mobile devices, via App Store and Google Play, with furthers platform under evaluation during the 2017.
Thanks again Mar Dixon for your hospitality and for your vision of a museum as a “wonderful playground”.