digital storytelling examples, Mobile Storytelling, multimedia storytelling, Storytelling
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South Australian Maritime Museum – Rough Medicine: Life & Death in the Age of Sail


The South Australian Maritime Museum created an interactive and somewhat bone-chilling game for the exhibition “Rough Medicine: Life & Death in the Age of Sail”, which takes place until March 27th, 2015. The exhibition explores immigrant ship voyages of Australians back in the days were medics was brutal and required unconventional ways of curing.

After downloading the game app, the visitor becomes a surgeon, on a mission to cure a sick patient. A thermometer appears on the screen and has to be closely observed as the visitor moves through the exhibition. When a beacon activates a trigger in a nearby mobile device, alerts are then prompted and the user has to accept or reject a specific remedy. These include e.g. bone syringes, surgical kits or even jars of wriggling leeches. If that is not eerie enough already, additional images and sounds are also incorporated to intensify user engagement. The goal of the game is to achieve the ‘Star surgeon’ status by correctly placing all needed remedies from the exhibition.

Visitors can play the game on an iPhone or iPad, which is based entirely on location, proximity and beacons. The iBeacon technology allows visitors of the exhibition to witness and interact with the historical objects, which would not be physically possible. The app impresses for its ability to engage visitors in even the uncanniest objects, educating about the grating history of Australian immigration and achieving it all through excellent storytelling.

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