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Video games are just another way of telling a story, and if that story is any good then theres no reason why it shouldn’t be memorable. Learning is a process of repetition, and with the correct game mechanics you can easily train a behaviour or teach a topic via the correct game design.
Teaboy Games recently completed Dig Deeper, a project with Signals Media Arts Centre and the Roman Circus Visitors Centre. Dig Deeper project brought together a diverse selection of young people to learn about Colchester’s Roman Heritage and work together to create an animation and app for the Colchester Roman Circus Visitors Centre. This project was made possible through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Working with the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT), the project saw over 50 young people, ages 11-25, learning about the archaeology of Roman Colchester and working with local professionals to develop an animation, historical audio tour and site based app all to be installed at the Roman Circus Visitors Centre and released via Apple and Google App Stores. Dig Deeper is an example of how game design can bring together a broad range of learning exercises into a single product, in this case an app with audio stories, artwork and animations all made by young people.
It wasn’t just the end product that was an educational resource, all the material and content that went into it was part of a broader educational program coordinated by Signals.
Beginning in May half term, we discovered the origins and explore history of Roman Colchester through media animation, sound design and robotics workshops. Then throughout the next few months Signals ran more free workshops making short animations, writing stories for a Colchester based historical audio tour and working with local developers to create an interactive map – which was subsequently unveiled on September 10th 2016 as part of the Heritage Open Day at the Colchester Roman Circus Visitors Centre.
To celebrate the finale of our Dig Deeper project, we enlisted some our young charioteers to recreate the route ancient Romans would’ve walked from the Roman Temple, now Colchester Castle, to the Roman Circus before a race. After making their costumes, our mini legion were met with smiles and cheers as they marched across Colchester and chanted Latin phrases. Once at the circus they were met with Roman food, music and games – and were treated to the launch of the brand new ‘Dig Deeper’ animated film and the Roman Circus app that they had all worked hard so hard on over the summer. You can view a gallery of images from the procession here.
Working with heritage professionals from Colchester Archeology Trust, Dig Deeperparticipants gained a deeper insight into this little known part of Colchester’s heritage, as well as teaching them a variety of valuable new digital skills. Secondary to teaching these skills, we’ve also highlighted a unique part of our Roman Heritage through animation, sound design and game making! Our Colchester Roman Circus App is now available to download free from both Apple App Store and Google Play.