Bridget Sullivan Digital Project Proposal

My digital project will address the abolition debates in the colony of Rhode Island in the period leading up to the American Revolution. While the state of institutionalized slavery in the South and the bloody fight of the American Civil War are well known in our collective public memory, slavery in the North is widely forgotten by the historical narrative. This project will help to fill a gap in public knowledge about the history of slavery in the United States.


I would like to present this information in an interactive format. Because we learn so much about slavery and the causes of the Civil War in the American educational system, I would like for this digital tool to stand out against other educational aids on similar topics. Further, I would like for this resource to be able to reflect the differences that were inherent between the state of slavery in the North and in the South.


In order to present this information, I will focus on the lives of two prominent Rhode Islanders, John Brown and Moses Brown. The Brown brothers entered the slave trade together. However, a horribly tragic end to their first slaving voyage caused them to follow different paths. John stuck with the slave trade and rose to wealth and prominence with his profits. Meanwhile, Moses’ eyes were opened to the questionable morality of the trade and he fought to outlaw both the trade and the institution from the colony.


I would like to create an interactive adventure game that allows players to follow the lives of John and Moses as a fictional younger sibling. As a sibling, players will be given the opportunity to join John and Moses at the critical junctures in their careers, both separately and especially at the places where they cross. Players will be familiarized with the historical progression of the move to abolition as well as the function of slavery and the place of the slave trade in Rhode Island during this time period.


My intended audience for this project is teachers and students. The game itself will be designed for an elementary aged child. I think that this type of interactive adventure is educational and exciting for this age group. It allows learning, while providing a contrast for the more traditional methods of addressing history in an educational setting. In order to reach this audience, I would like to market to teachers specifically at Rhode Island public schools. I would like to explore the possibility of it being connected to a more well-known organization in the state, such as the Rhode Island Historical Society, in order to reach more teachers.


Ideally, I would like to evaluate the project through teacher feedback. In the short run, I would like to explore the possibilities of doing a trial testing of the game with teachers in the local DC area.

One Reply to “Bridget Sullivan Digital Project Proposal”

  1. This is a really interesting project idea. If you do decide to go ahead with this I would suggest that you think about making your final project some kind of game design document instead of trying to make the game yourself. Spend some time looking at the kinds of games that people make in Flash, like some of the games we will play later in the semester. If you want I would be happy to share the kind of thing you might make up, I did a game design document for a different course at one point and I could ask around and see if I could find you a good example of a design document. The idea here would be to clearly describe the audience, the goals of the game, and then give a walk through of exactly what options a player has at what point and what the results of making those decisions would be. Ideally, you could make some fake screenshots of the game, even just in Powerpoint or something.

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