On the 22nd June in 1948 the HMT Empire Windrush docked in Tilbury, Essex, bringing people from the Caribbean who had been invited to help rebuild “the motherland” after the devastation of the Second World War.
Seventy-five years later, stories from the Windrush generation are shared in a ground breaking illustrated text-based interactive narrative from 3-Fold Games. Windrush Tales is still in development, but a preview can be read exclusively in the British Library’s current Digital Storytelling exhibition, which is open until 15 October 2023.
Windrush Tales tells the stories of characters Rose, an aspiring nurse, and her older brother Vernon, through a beautiful illustrated interactive photo album and branching narrative, allowing choices within the game to lead to one of many endings. Apprehensive but tenacious, Rose joins her brother in England with the intention to start work as a nurse in the newly formed NHS. Vernon has been in Britain for several years but, unknown to his sister, has struggled to find and stay in employment. Through his photography, he documents how they adapt to their new life, from grassroots arts and activism, to church and social clubs.
As part of their extensive research process to develop the game’s story lines, creative director Chella Ramanan and writer Corey Brotherson, both descendants of the Windrush generation, have drawn upon their families’ experiences, news coverage, books, and exhibitions. They also consulted with people who emigrated from the Caribbean to Britain during the Windrush period from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, and their families, via a workshop organised in collaboration with Jennifer Allsopp, from the University of Birmingham.
Windrush Tales is one of eleven showcased narratives in Digital Storytelling, the first exhibition of its kind at the Library. Curators worked closely with writers, artists and creators to display a range of innovative publications, which reflect the rapidly evolving field of interactive writing, stories that are dynamic, responsive, personalised and immersive.
To accompany this exhibition there is a season of in-person events at the Library. Writer Corey Brotherson from the Windrush Tales team will be speaking about another of his projects, the Clockwork Watch story world at MIX 2023 Storytelling in Immersive Media, a one-day conference exploring the intersection of writing and technology on Friday 7 July 2023. Corey is also a guest tutor at the Fiction as Dialogue, Interactive Fiction Summer School, which runs from 21st to the 25th August 2023.