The Library is pleased to announce that Emma Gleeman ‘15 is the winner of this year’s Library Innovation Prize. This year, the Prize asked students to design games that drew on the Library as a space for play or that used the Library’s collections as content for the game. Emma’s design is a collaborative storytelling game titled “Ruckus at the Rock.”
In her game, players face a catastrophe taking place in the Library drawn from a deck of cards: a swarm of bees in the Absolute Quiet Room! Josiah Carbery’s ghost is hurling cracked pots at you! The snack cart runs out of coffee! They then draw three items from a second deck—a rolling chair, a desk lamp, and a red velvet muffin—and must come up with a story that uses all three items to avert the ruckus at the Rock.
During the presentation in the Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab, Gleeman presented her handmade game components in a cut-up copy of Boccaccio’s Decameron. She was careful to point out that the copy did not come from the stacks in the Rock! She also showed a video of friends play testing the game so attendees could better understand how it works. The judges praised Gleeman’s work for the cooperative nature of play, the creativity and fun it inspired, and how it highlighted many familiar aspects of the Rock and how students interact with it on a daily basis.
Four other games were presented at the Innovation Prize Showcase, which took place April 15, 2016. Graduate student Brigitte Stepanov debuted “Library Quest,” which asked teams to complete a number of missions across the different libraries at Brown. These quests included trivia questions, finding good study spaces in a library, and finding paintings in the Annmary Brown Memorial or lounge furniture in the SciLi. Brigitte even designed her own game to be played within her game.
Alicia DeVos ’18 presented “To the Letter,” which gave players a list of clues to find around the library. These clues were all letters that would then be rearranged to solve the puzzle and lead players to a prize. For example, one clue asked individuals to find the twenty-third letter of the quotation by the entrance to the Rock. DeVos anticipated that “To the Letter” could be played in spurts, as a study break activity, with students tackling one clue at a time.
Rebecca Andrews ’18 similarly designed an experience for students who needed a break from their work. “Library Hunt” presents a game of hide and go seek in the Library. Those who are hiding grab the book that is closest to them and texts its title and author to the player who is “it.” The player who is “it” uses library resources to find those who are hiding, looking through the catalog and then navigating through the stacks. The hiders had to stay in place for four minutes after sending their text and then could try to make it back to base. Andrews reported that the game helped her become more familiar with both Library resources and with the layout of the Rock. She also recommended level A as the best place to hide!
Finally, a team of graduate students from the Public Humanities program—Leah Burgin, Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, Tyler French, Andrea Ledesma, and Inge Zwart—showed off “Collect Yourshelf.” Taking on the role of librarians, players in this game worked to build the best “shelf” of library materials they could find, having to pull from each of Brown’s different libraries. A player’s shelf can only hold one item from each library, so it is important to think carefully about what to put on your shelf. The whole game is driven by action cards, which give instruction for what to do on your turn. To create various levels of interaction in “Collect Yourshelf,” the team created regular, intensified, and extreme action cards.
The Library appreciates all of the hard work that went into these games and looks forward to seeing what Brown students do in next year’s Innovation Prize.