Archaeology and videogames in the same project? Two fields opposite in time par excellence are joined in the ambitious work that will be out soon thanks to MANN, the Archaeological Museum of Naples. The latest effort by TuoMuseo, the Italian project that applies gamification to the museums’ field, is expected in Spring 2017 and will be called “Father and Son”: the videogame will use storytelling and storydoing to tell us about Michael, traveling in Naples to discover the story of his archaeologist father, whom he never met, and take us with him among the streets of the historical city and the museum’s exposition rooms for a path that, from time to time, will shift between places and eras.
A new strategy to connect museums and their audience
The problem of exposure in the museums’ field – especially in a country like Italy, where there are so many – is a simple, still crucial point: if people don’t know the museum, they can’t decide to visit it.
MANN’s director Paolo Giulierini and Prof Ludovico Solima (Università degli Studi della Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”) considered this important truth and used it as a key for the museum’s 2016-2019 Strategic Plan, in which it’s clear the necessity of a new kind of approach to the instruments that tech and web made available to reach a wider audience, both in age and geographical origin.
A videogame: why?
The videogames field in 2016 was worth over $90 billion, and in Italy it reaches 1/3 of the adult audience; combining this data with the possibilities of the mobile market, successful thanks to the high density of smart devices per person, and to the winning gamification strategies, we have a surely successful plan. With these numbers, the collaboration of the museum with TuoMuseo and Fabio Viola, one of the most important game designers in the world, is a pretty interesting choice.
Father and Son will be the technological bridge that will connect MANN’s collections (among them the incredible ones coming from Pompeii and Ercolano!) with the audience, both the one already knowing the museum and the virtual one, that will walk its rooms for the first time. It is not a case that the videogame has been created both in Italian and English language: the target is an international audience, that will be able to download for free and without ads the app and get to know the museum.
A personal and timeless journey
Father and Son is the journey of a young man, Michael, at the discovery of the archaeologist father he never met. The story starts with the finding of a letter that guides him towards the Archaeological Museum of Naples, and from there it unfolds through the streets of the city and the rooms of the museum, following a 2D side-scrolling narrative scheme. The places are just a part of what is possible to visit in the game: the events will unroll in a chronological manner, creating a game of eras that will extend our experience from the protagonist’s personal story to the eternal one of the city of Naples.
From the last 24 hours of Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. to the ruins of the Roman city, from the architecture, artworks and findings of the MANN’s various collections to the ancient Egypt and Bourbon period, we will follow and guide Michael’s adventure while he will meet unique characters and be able to live their stories visiting past eras.
A masterpiece of graphic reconstruction and illustration
Story and setting are not the only details that make this project incredible, since for its realization have been reproduced 3 km of Neapolitan streets: the English artist Sean Wenham hand-painted all the graphics, recreating the unique atmosphere of the city.
There’s more: the game has an original soundtrack that changes depending on the periods and the emotions of the protagonist.
Father and Son: the timeless journey starts in March 2017
Father and Son’s promotional website is already out: visiting the link you will find more information and will be able to send a customized letter, like the one starting the story. The videogame itself, however, will be out from next spring and will be available for free download, without ads on Google Play and Apple Store.