Today I finished the writing for our (as yet unnamed) game about the abandoned buildings of Tiger Bay. My task was to write some dialogs as if I was speaking in the voice of the building. After we chose our locations, I did some research about each one online, to learn about what they had been, and what they might become in the future. My research even took me on a short walk over to the Butetown History and Arts Centre (BHAC) to pick up a copy of Harry “Shipmate” Cooke’s mid-20th-century memoir How I Saw it: A Stroll Thro’ Old Cardiff Bay, to try to get a sense of the voice of the place in its heyday.
Even though I’m a non-local in the extreme (being an American) I wanted to capture an authentic sounding voice without being too corny. And of course I wanted the actors to be able and willing to adapt the dialog to their natural speech patterns and senses of humor. For the first two buildings (which are the first two game levels) we sourced the talent locally, right in-house at Play:DO. Our very own Mog (@mog4) voiced the old Train Depot: Train Station Story (wav, 310kb)
The presentation today by Rosa Robinson (@Rosa_R) got my team thinking about the relationship of social change to the senses – and for me it was particularly our sense of smell, since that’s the one I’ve been learning about and working with lately. We know that exposure to natural things and places has a healing effect on the human psyche. So, to what degree does smell play a part in that recuperation? And how can we bring it into playful experiences? It doesn’t seem adequate to simply take an otherwise completely digital experience and “add smell” (say in the form of a perfume substance) and claim that now it’s healthier. But on the other hand, there is new evidence that calming smells really do lower our stress. So maybe a “fake” smell can have “real” effects and I shouldn’t discount that possibility.
Image of Cardiff fish market courtesy of travelerfolio.com