The Wondering Lands of Alice: original Alice manuscript is brought to life in a new video game concept

The original handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been transformed by a team of higher education students into a new award-winning video game concept.

The Wondering Lands of Alice has been awarded the winning game in the competition Off The Map, a collaboration between the British Library and GameCity, which challenges student teams with creating video games, text adventures and virtual environments using digitised maps, sounds, texts and illustrations from the British Library’s collections.

The winning entry The Wondering Lands of Alice created by Off Our Rockers, a team of six students from De Montfort University in Leicester, follows Alice on a whimsical journey in a surreal underground setting where users are set challenges to get to the next stage.

The three winning entries will be available for visitors to play in the British Library’s upcoming Alice in Wonderland exhibition (20 November to 2015 to 17 April 2016), which celebrates 150 years of the publication. 

To kick off the challenge, curators selected a number of sound recordings, printed and manuscript items from the Library’s collections for entrants to use as the creative inspiration for their video game.  These included the original handwritten manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, an excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s diary in which he records first telling his famous tale and John Tenniel’s illustrations from the 1890 edition of The Nursery Alice along with a series of maps and plans of formal gardens and subterranean worlds

Helen Melody, curator of the upcoming Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the British Library, said:

‘Our upcoming exhibition Alice in Wonderland considers the way in which Carroll’s famous story has fascinated successive generations of illustrators and artists, musicians, filmmakers and designers over the past 150 years. 

The winning Off The Map entries offer another re-imagination of Alice, this time through the medium of videogame technology, demonstrating how versatile and inspiring the story continues to be.  It is really exciting that the three winning entries will be available for visitors to play in the exhibition, alongside the original manuscript.’

Iain Simons, director of GameCity Festival and The National Videogame Arcade, said:

‘The Wondering Lands of Alice is a brilliant, imaginative and beautifully designed game by Off Our Rockers.  Off The Map offers not only the perfect opportunity to showcase creative work across literature, film, design, music and games software, but it also connects students to world class organisations such as the British Library and the wider games industries. This is a project and collaboration that we're really proud to be part of.’

The winning entry was announced at the GameCity10 videogame festival in Nottingham last night.  Off Our Rockers consists of Dan Bullock, Freddy Canton, Luke Day, Denzil Forde, Amber Jamieson and Braden May.

The 2016 Off The Map competition was also launched at GameCity 10 and is associated with the British Library’s upcoming Shakespeare exhibition (15 April 2016 to 6 September 2016).  A variety of illustrations, engravings, maps and sounds related to The Tempest and castles and forests that have been used as settings in Shakespeare’s plays will provide the basis for students to base their games on.  Winners will be announced at the GameCity11 festival in October 2016.

Notes to Editors

The second winning entry was Alice Gardens by Chris Lonsdale.  The third winning entry was A Curious Feeling by Hare Trigger.

The Alice in Wonderland exhibition is open from 20 November 2015 until 17 April 2016 at the British Library.

Visit our Alice in Wonderland pop-up shop in the British Library Entrance Hall from 21 October 2015 until 31 January 2016.

For more information:

Alice Carter
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7110
e: alice.carter@bl.uk

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

Press Office contacts

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

GameCity has spent the past ten years developing innovative forms of public engagement with videogames, encompassing the annual GameCity Festival in Nottingham, and a regular programme of “GameCity Nights” talks and events. In March of this year, GameCity established the world’s first National Videogame Arcade - a permanent exhibition and event space dedicated to games. Since then, more than 20,000 visitors have discovered new ways to play together at the NVA, with daily school trips during term time and game-making clubs at the weekend. GameCity is proud to receive support and backing from Nottingham Trent University and a range of private and public sector partners including the Wellcome Trust, Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, Nottingham City Council and the Nottingham Technology Grant Fund.  Visit www.gamecity.org for further information.