Queens Game Artistic Research

Queens Game explores the potential of the computer as dramatic storytelling medium. Presenting authentic history through the lens of the medieval imagination, it aims to create something more than a game. Featuring a real medieval princess and a girl from the realm of King Arthur, innovative interactive dramaturgy offers an exciting ludo-narrative journey into the Middle Ages.

Interactive Storytelling:

HiStoryGame research production supported by the Norwegian Artistic Research Project Programme and developed in collaboration with Snow Castle Games Oslo.

Queen Margrete, new 10-year old bride of King Håkon VI of Norway (23), arrives at Akershus fortress Oslo in 1363. She explores the virtual medieval royal stronghold (most of whose physical buildings no longer exist) and meets its inhabitants.

For young Margrete, the legendary realm of King Arthur provides an escape from duty and the reality of a world devastated by the Black Death and also offers 21st-century players an engaging way in to real medieval history.

Queens Game includes the new tale of Arthurian character Lunete, who - in contrast to Margrete - on her 12th birthday, rather than marry her father’s choice of husband, runs away. She meets a range of people and overcomes many challenges, learning skills which will help Margrete succeed as a medieval queen.

Oral-composition and dramatic storytelling-techniques common in the middle-ages are intrinsically spatially-organised and non-linear, lending themselves naturally to computer-handled narrativity, which is not confined by the linear page-structure of books or the framing of the fixed screen or stage. Margrete, a good chess-player, began as a political pawn and made her way across the board to become a powerful queen.

The medium is a strong part of the message - combining medieval narrative and musical modes and the aesthetic of manuscript painting, with innovative games design, using, like chess, sensitive dependence on initial conditions plus chance operations to bring surprise to the computer-handled 3D-navigable world.

Expressively-animated non-player characters (NPC’s) with original reconfigurable music and songs provide emotional depth as the drama unfolds in real time without cut scenes, promoting an engaging relationship between player, characters and story.


Artistic Research Café (Norwegian Film School and Norwegian Film Institute Lab), Oslo October 2018
Maureen Thomas presents Proposed project https://www.filmskolen.no/artikler/2018/ar-cafe-1

Artistic Research Café March 2019
Maureen Thomas presents Initial pre-production experimental prototype: work achieved and in progress https://www.nfi.no/kalender/artistic-research-cafe

Norwegian Artistic Research Forum, Norwegian Film School, Lillehammer September 2019
Maureen Thomas presents and Bendik Stang (Snow Castle) demonstrates Second pre-production prototype: June - September 2019 https://diku.no/arrangementer/artistic-research-autumn-forum-2019

Artistic Research Café March 2021
Senior Artistic Researcher Professor Maureen Thomas (Norwegian Film School) and Game Director/Developer Bendik Stang (Snowcastle Games Oslo) in conversation: 'Collaboration: Creative Practice Research and Industry - how can artistic research at a film school and professional practice at a game development/production studio benefit each other?' (Case study: Queens Game).

Contextualizing and describing the project:

Thomas, M. 2021. ‘Cinematic Forms and Cultural Heritage’ in Breeze, M. (ed). Forms of the Cinematic. London: Bloomsbury Press. ISBN 978150136143. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/forms-of-the-cinematic-9781501361425/

Maureen Thomas fix 4