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Open University brings 17th Century into the 21st with new interactive online game O’Fortuna


By Michael Feeley, Founder and chief exec

June 29, 2015 | 2 min read

The Open University’s free online learning platform OpenLearn has launched a new interactive game named O’Fortuna.

Although available to all OpenLearn visitors, the new game has been created specifically for the OU’s History Department to complement a new course at the University. It is aimed at students with an interest in Arts and History and helps users understand the key stages of life cycles in the 17th century. The game hopes to bring attention to the new course and to engage prospective students.

O’Fortuna was created by creative agency Yoyo, who worked on a similar project for the OU’s International Affairs department earlier this year.

Georgia Axtell-Powell, online project producer at OpenLearn, said: “We were really impressed with the results of Yoyo’s previous work for OpenLearn, so when an opportunity to create a new e-learning game for Arts students and prospective students arose, we knew they were the agency we wanted to work with. The game is fun and engaging yet still incorporates an educational narrative. The bright, animated characters work brilliantly alongside the sombre life events reflective of the time (including plague, fire and religious upheaval). The end result is fantastic.”

Louisa Steward, head of delivery at Yoyo, said: “O’Fortuna is a fun, educational, interactive game that follows the lives of 4 people living in 17th century Europe. We wanted to show what it was like to live in that time and how their lives were influenced not only by the decisions made but more often by fate, such as the events of the Great Fire of London. The game has a ‘choose your own adventure’ mechanic with various outcomes for each character. Some of the decisions made have a significant impact on life and others have no influence.

“The creative route chosen is bold, bright and impactful. We wanted the creative to be unique, capture the user’s attention and communicate the essence of the stories without being too sombre. The objective is to make learning fun and encourage people to find out more.”

Established in 2008, Yoyo based in Tunbridge Wells and employs 13 people.

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