No chocolate broccoli

‘No chocolate broccoli’ – growing popularity of online games for museums National Museum Directors Council Newsletter UK Feb 2015

New online museum games don’t need chocolate coating. Source: The 1:1 Classroom

The Art Newspaper has described the growing popularity of online games and gaming events in museums.  Both the Tate and the British Museum have recently built outposts on Minecraft which were instantly popular. Nick Harris who worked on Minecraft for the BM said they had expected 20 volunteers to help with the project, instead “it exploded…Twitter went berserk and we had more than a thousand applicants in a single day“.  Meanwhile the V&A ran a Games Jam which gave designers 48 hours to build games around their Medieval and Renaissance collections.

Its subsequent Minecraft evening mesmerised 350 teenage boys for an hour and a half.  The Wellcome Collection is also a leading creator of museum computer games: digital lead Danny Birchall says their motto is ‘no chocolate broccoli’ – the content has to be genuinely engaging, not simply made palatable to some audiences by an association with digital.  He adds that museums are still “scratching the surface of what’s possible” and that with the same budget, games could have the same reach as exhibitions.

I think people are less willing to take that risk because it doesn’t have the same intimacy of contact with the venue.  Knowing that 100,000 have done something online is never quite as reassuring as having 10,000 people walk through your door“.

Art Newspaper (subscription only)