The game is divided into three periods of Mesopotamian history: The Uruk Period (3300-3000 BC) when writing was first developing; the Ur III period (2100-2000 BC), a time of great cities and central organization; and the Neo-Assyrian period (1000-600 BC), a time of empires.
The game incorporates artifacts found in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore and ancient texts in the on-line data-sets of the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative. Players will interact with fictional characters and real objects from the three historic periods and the present day in order to solve a series of challenges. In the process, the player will absorb historical information and became more familiar with museum and library resources. The project in its entirety exposes the player to three historical periods in addition to an accurate modern day replication of the Walters Art Museum. While exploring the museum the players gain insight behind the scenes and learn about the objects they will see once they travel back in time. The full version includes the Walters Art Museum, Uruk and Ur, while kiosk version depicts Kalhu.
Full Version Storyline
The game opens with a cataclysmic event—an earthquake in Baltimore. The player quickly learns that this event is caused by an ingenious archaeologist named Dexter who has figured out how to travel back in time, accidentally and unknowingly wreaking havoc with the fabric of time. The storyline then unfolds, compelling the player to go on a series of missionsto ancient Iraq to find Dex and restore the fabric of time The player travels back in time, ‘leaping’ into the body of several historically attested characters. In the first level, the player assumes the character of Taribi, a 12 year old boy studying to be a scribe. Living a day in Taribi’s life, the player is challenged to learn what he would have learned in school. Players are encouraged to learn by discovery and to experience one of the earliest cities, Uruk ca. 3100 BC.
An interactive kiosk-based version of the game is available in the Walters Art Museum and will add an experiential element to the wealth of Mesopotamian artifacts found in the museum’s collections.
The kiosk version was developed specifically for playing in the Walters Art Museum’s (WAM) Ancient Near Eastern Art Gallery. The kiosk game is intended to give the players a taste of what the NW Palace at Nimrud in the Neo-Assyrian period was like. Gameplay involves documenting your journey though the palace as you search for the highlighted artifacts from the collections of the WAM and the Library of Congress that have been contextualized in recreated historical settings. The player is given a 5 minute battery life span to travel back in time, create a photo album of his or her journey and learn more about the setting from the characters he or she encounters. When the player takes a photograph of an artifact, they are rewarded with in-depth information about the object and a picture of the artifact as it appears today in the WAM’s collecton. When the player has used up their whole roll of film or time has run out, they are presented with a photo album of all the pictures they took.