Games for the Albuquerque Museum

Quests for the Cities of Gold, an ARIS game by Gianna May et al. set at the ABQ Museum's Along the Rio Grade exhibit.

Quests for the Cities of Gold, an ARIS game by Gianna May et al. set at the ABQ Museum’s Along the Rio Grade exhibit.

Gianna May, Sara McGinnis,  Brian Martinez, Sam Strasser, Paul Strasser, Ann Christmas
Games for Change 2013, UHON 499, Independent
Spring, 2013 – Present

Museums have become interested in what a Local Games Lab can do. Small, informal teams can produce working prototypes with tools like ARIS to help museums actively participate in the meaningful process of making their exhibits come alive in a digital age. Over the last two years, and with two games already done, Gianna May (with some help from others) has helped the Albuquerque Museum (a local art and history museum) do just that.

May’s first game, Jornadas, was a class project in the class Games for Change 2013 in the Honors College at UNM. It sought to tell an interactive story of a turn-of-the-previous-century TB sufferer migrating to Albuquerque in the “chase for the cure.”

Much more ambitious in its design intent, her second game, Quest for the Cities of Gold, reinterpreted museum exhibits as an interactive story for young patrons and their parents. The main part of the game put the player in the place of a member of Coronado’s expedition headed to New Mexico in the sixteenth century.

It was developed in the summer of 2013 and launched at the museum’s Family Day event in August, 2013. May has spoken and written about these design experiences on several occasions, including:

  • A presentation to the Western Regional Honors Council’s 2014 Annual Meeting
  • A Poster and Proceedings paper for the 2014 Games Learning and Society Conference (coauthored by Chris Holden and including information about this lab as well)
  • A book chapter in the upcoming Mobile Media Learning: Innovation and Inspiration (in press)

The relationship produced with the museum continues. As she begins her graduate studies in history at UNM (Fall 2014), May is working with museum personnel and other students on new designs. Stay tuned!

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