The hottest day of the year in Ulyanovsk finally came to an end - and so did Место преступления изменить нельзя // Can’t change the crime scene sucessfully shot 8 crime movies, arrested 5 perpetrators and lost a great Cop due to corruptness. Check out the pictures of the event here. The movies are online as well - subtitles are under process!
We say thank you for a great day full of action, a splendid festival, all the help and curiosity in games.
So, what are we doing in Russia? Following the news of course. Discussing. All the time. Not. Russian people, especially the young ones, often refuse. The german ambassador canceled his visit, but this might have other reasons than the latest developments. Our office is also a storage of multiple flags. Black red gold and red blue white. Then there is this mysterious box with EU- and nobody really knows what to do with it. While we have been thinking about switching the whole setup to a more political one. We just wish there might be some more constructive game design and mutual trust in politics.
Even if we do not have political CONTENT, we provide a kind of CONTAINER that can be filled. And the real political thing: we are very happy to make people see and use their public space in every way suitable- for themselves.
GAME DESIGN CHALLENGE
Occasion: German/russian days in Uljanowsk. http://www.germania.diplo.de/contentblob/4275766/Daten/4482970/uljanowskprogramm.pdf
Location: Uljanowsk. Birthplace of Lenin (who also gave name to the former Simbirsk)
A game for 50-70 people for an afternoon.
For the german/russian days we wanted to play with stereotypes. When we started working on the project, also “Im Angesicht des Verbrechens” should be shown after our game.
Let’s have a look on some Russian crime statistics:
The 2009 crime survey claimed every fourth adult male had been to jail at least once. But this is no new post-soviet development. A famous Russian folk song sings half the nation has been in jail and the other half has been waiting. Murder are in rising number, although police statistics do not count un-identified bodies or missing people as murder-victims. Interesting as well: the differentiation between “murder” and “using material on somebody with fatal consequences” (not counted as murder). In 2009 officially there have been 45.100 murders committed in Russia, 77.900 un-identified bodies and 48.500 missing people.
We came to the conclusion, that a game about crime stories would be great. Even better: Crime movies.
OUR CONTAINER: NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
Ok. We had our container. Storytelling/moviemaking with references to german and russian formats. So what else could we choose than TATORT? Broadcasted each Sunday evening millions of Germans watch the Tatort week by week. Recently (during the last maybe since the football world cup) there were more and more public viewing events. Tatort’s stories take place in several german cities that have more or less convincing commissar couples.
Dramturgically Tatort follows a quite strict structure. In the beginning in 99,99% of all Tatorts there is a dead body. The two commissars start investigating: In the social environment of the victim. So Tatort is not only a crime movie, but also (at least some of the good ones) a good container to wrap social studies in an entertaining format. The end of the Tatort: open. Not every murder is caught. It depends on taste of the production team (writer, director etc.).
Due to some trouble in just literally translating the name “Tatort” to russian, we did some research on russian crime formats and were led to Место встречи изменить. нельзя http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Meeting_Place_Cannot_Be_Changed
- a cult series of the post soviet generation TV and decided to merge both formats.
So the narrative structure of the game (the storytelling set that helps the teams to develop their stripts on the locations) follows the typical Tatort-structure, the content (e.g. choices that can be taken during the development of the story) is enriched with quotations of Место встречи изменить. нельзя.
INPUT: REAL CRIME STORIES
Not only the places are real (and wonderful. In the morning on our way to our office we are singing “Mister Lada Lada” )- we also did research on site concerning real crime in Uljanowsk. A former detective, a former prisoner (of one of the 8(?) prisons in Uljanowsk, the police press office told us stories.
For example the story about the guy who invited another one to his place to batter him to death with a glass of mustard- because he was curious how the brain tasted. Another one killed himself because he could not hide the body parts of his wife he had murdered before. Although Uljanowsk is said to be much more quiet than 10,20 years before (where it was a real heartland of violence), there are still things going on. Each spring girls are kidnapped literally in front of their homes- and found in the forest with separated extremities.
But most of the times: crime seems to be influenced much by accidents. Wrong time wrong place. People drunk. Bar fight. Bad luck. People who slip in the staircase and shoot into other people’s head instead of the shoulder.
Somebody tried to explain a strange Uljanowsk atmosphere (people tend to find people from other parts of Russia more friendly and happy) with the fact that there are those 2 rivers (Volga and another much smaller one) that flow into opposite directions.
However: We found enough material for a crime movie shooting game: with much suspense. (Interesting sidenote: suspense or excitement do not exist in russian language as words with positive connotation.)
LAST HOURS TO GO.
So, tomorrow at 14h we will start.
70 people will spread out in teams of 5. Each team will leave (after a tutorial about the general structure and the material they get, especially the flipcam) and visit 5 different locations we found in the vicinities of Simbirsk, the historical city center. They are prepared with physical tools to develop, perform and shoot their scenes.
And in the evening we will celebrate the premiere of all 10 movies in KVARTAL.
We are working with three wonderful volunteers- and would be lost without them. This is the first time that we make a live game for 70 people in a foreign language. And most of the people here do not understand or speak english or german.
So: Exciting. In a positive way.