The Victorianator

Read Jason Camlot’s article on The Victorianator, published at the Victorian Poetry Network (VPN).

Read reviews of The Victorianator in The New Yorker, Wired, The Globe and Mail.

This iPhone game explores the use of gesture to trigger synthetic effects upon speech.  Gesture was a significant part of recitation (reading poetry out loud) during the Victorian period (that’s the Nineteenth-Century).  We have taken specific gestures as prescribed in Victorian elocution manuals and have put them at the core of our gameplay.  The player records one of three Victorian poems in monotone, and then, using these Victorian elocutionary gestures, triggers Victorian style elocutionary effects upon the recording.  The effects we have come up with are also straight out of Victorian elocution manuals, only ours are synthetically generated.  If you perform your gestures properly, on cue, then you “Victorianate” your voice, and succeed in the game.

Follow the story of Silas Shornsong’s adventures in London as you play your way through the game. The better you score, the happier Silas’s adventures will be. So gesture well, dear friend, as Silas much prefers the salon to the dung heap. You can also unlock pages of Silas’s secret diary as you play, and learn what life was really like in the Victorian period.

Download on iTunes

The Victarionator – Game Design Document

Team :

Project Leader

Jason Camlot

Jason Camlot (Chair and Associate Professor, English, Concordia University) is completing work on his second book manuscript, entitled “Documenting the Phonotext: Sound Recording and Its Victorian Legacy” which the impact of sound recording technology upon literary production, consumption, genre and performance and traces the cultural significance of early spoken recordings by situating them within explanatory technological, elocutionary, generic, and pedagogical contexts of their use.. He is the author of Style and the Nineteenth-Century British Critic (Ashgate, 2008), and the co-editor of Language Acts: Anglo-Québec Poetry, 1976 to the 21st Century (Vehicle, 2007) which was a finalist for the 2007 Prix Gabrielle-Roy.  Journal and essay publications relevant to “The Victorianator” project include, “The Three-Minute Victorian Novel: Early Adaptations of Books to Sound“ (forthcoming in Audiobooks, Sound Studies and Literature. Ed. Matthew Rubery [Routledge, 2011]),  “Early Talking Books: Sound Recordings and Recitations Anthologies 1880-1920” in Book History. His research has been pursued on an array of disciplinary fronts (including literature and culture of the long nineteenth century, the history of technology, as well as contemporary literature and popular culture), but has demonstrated a consistent concern with questions of genre, media/publication, the history of authorship, and, in the broadest sense, the history and cultural politics of mediation and rhetoric. He is also currently PI on two SSHRC-funded team research projects that explore the development of digital media tools to support his research into nineteenth-century sound and literature.  His ITST project “RECITE: Exploring and Developing Digital Tools for the Analysis and Interactive Use of Literary Spoken Recordings” aims to develop a literary-oriented forensics for early spoken recordings, and his RDI project, “The SpokenWeb 2.0: Conceptualizing and Prototyping a Comprehensive Web-Based Digital Spoken-Word Archive Interface for Literary Research” will explore the possibilities of delivering historical media via a digital interface.  Jason is also the author of three collections of poetry, The Animal Library, Attention All Typewriters, and The Debaucher, as well as several digital poetry projects, most recently, tickertext2

Art and 3D Rendering

Mohannad Al-Khatib

Mohannad Al-Khatib(BFA, Computation Arts) is an artist and designer who specializes in 3D representation (and whose passion is 3D creature development). Over the past few years he has worked on a variety of gaming projects as a modeler, digital sculptor, and texture artist. Mohannad grew up in Saudi Arabia where Art is highly unappreciated; however, this fact allowed him to independently develop his own unique style which is visible throughout his work.  Samples of his work can be found at his PsychoDesigns website:

Game Designer

Stéphanie Bouchard

Stéphanie Bouchard (BA, Computation Arts) is studying at the intersection of design, art and technology in Concordia’s computational arts program. She is a human-computer interface enthusiast specialized in unusual user interface.  She spent the past summer at the MIT Media Lab developing a ‘’Gamelan’’ tangible midi interface for Harmonix. When she’s not building first person shooters where you blow up stuff with mind control, she is a game designer for the Techno-culture, Art & Games research group (TAG). She is fascinated by domotic and dream to one day turn your whole house into a game entertainment system.

Web Master

Matthew Tremblay

Matthew Tremblay (B.Sc. Computation Arts) is a Computation Arts major in his third year. He has a background in software engineering and is a freelance web designer. His areas of interest include web programming, music, typography, photography, physical computing, installation art, and architecture. In his free time he reads science-fiction novels and likes to rock out in rhythm video games.

Lead Programmer

Michael Fortin

Michael Fortin is a Concordia masters student in Computer Science, supervised by Dr. Peter Grogono and Dr. Sha Xin Wei studying means of interactively simulating fluid flow on large rectangular grids with the purpose of creating interesting visual effects that are intuitive for the TML [see test videos]. Within TAG he is currently working on The Victorianator project.  Interests include creating prototype software on iPod/iPad to study how people interact with the device, calligraphy,  issues related to multi-core programming, and simulations of physical phenomena.

Sound Designer

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier/Carré Technologies Inc.

Pierre-Alexandre Fournier is an engineer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Carré Technologies, a hardware/software R&D company. His work on speech and image processing has been used on numerous best-selling video games. When not busy with speech or video processing projects, he works on new wearable biosensors, mobile software, and artificial intelligence algorithms.  Carré Technologies is a partner member of the LudicVoice team.

Game Writer/Storyteller

Jeremy Valentine Freeman

Jeremy Valentine Freeman (MA, English) was educated in creative writing and critical theory at Goddard College in Vermont and is currently in the creative writing program at Concordia University in Montreal.  He is currently working on several creative works in poetry and fiction including the novel Yves Antichrist.  In addition to creative work he is presently engaged in researching transgressive literatures, aesthetic experience, and ideological forms in Modernity.


Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is TAG’s postdoctoral researcher. Her research centers on space and mobile bodies, and the ways in which they interpenetrate with, construct, and are reconfigured by computational technologies and media. She deals with tangible interaction,physical/social/spatial embodiment, DIY, and ubiquitous computing in urban environments. Because she has never been able to decide her disciplinary affiliation, she does design and ethnography, software and hardware hacking.  She has developed a rough prototype for the LudicVoice project “Vocal Force”.

Game Designer (Phase I)

Heather Kelley/Kokoromi Collective

Heather Kelley is a computer and video game designer based in Montreal, Burlington, Vermont and Vienna. As moboid, she creates game-based artwork. Heather’s twelve-year career in the games industry has included AAA next-gen console games, interactive smart toys, handheld games and web communities for girls. She is co-founder of the Kokoromi experimental game collective, with whom she produces and curates the annual Gamma game event promoting experimental games as creative expression in a social context.

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