We left the Victorian era for Ethereal and Jarbles, but play to return to the past in the near future.

PARLOUR (working title) includes two of our future projects.


Mansion of Bliss (Victorian Board Game held at Victoria&Albert Museum)

The first is going to focus on Victorian board games.  Far from the games we play today, like Monopoly and Clue, Victorian board games focused on learning moral values or exploring the New World…while having fun (or perhaps not, we will need to research this!)  Research will be conducted at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s holding of 19c games, and decisions will be made about how to adapt some of these games to mobile devices.  Will Robinson has done a preliminary research reconnaissance trip to the V&A for this project and came back with some very interesting information about the lengthy companion pamphlets and chapbooks that would come with these often predictable board games.  Adults playing these games with their children would recite information from the game chapbooks, and then the children would be required to regurgitate the information that had been read to them when landing on certain squares.  So the games were functioning (like flash cards) as quasi-ludic Gradgrindian fact lessons.  More to explore about this before we begin designing, and it’s possible that speech recognition could play a role (if we actually have players attempt to recite back texts that are read to them), so the project may become a bit Ludic-Voicey, as well.  We’ll see.



Page from Victorian Commonplace Book c1850. From the Private Collection of Jason Camlot.

A second project focuses on the practices surrounding the use of Victoran Albums, Commonplace Books and Scrapbooks as sites of cultural play and community building.  Individuals (often young upper-middle-class women) would use Albums as repositories of personal and cultural experiences.  Families would often share a single scrapbook album over several generations, in which they would write poems, draw images, paste pictures and locks of hair, play pencil games…and include secret codes….  The project will require significant primary source research into such unique artifacts, and then entail development of an interesting way to adapt our own digital rendering of a Victorian commonplace book, and the practices associated with these books, to a mobile device, most likely the iPad.

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