Digital love story

By Haley Morrison, Reporter

For anyone looking for a new way to learn more about Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the “Time Historian” video game is officially up on the Armstrong Browning website.

The game was created by two Baylor University computer science majors: Corey Royse and Andrew Kliphon. It only runs exclusively runs on PC however.

In the game, the player goes back in time to save the Browning’s courtship, otherwise their work doesn’t exist.

After taking Royse and Kliphon on a tour of the Armstrong Browning Library Jennifer Borderud, Access Outreach Librarian and associate director of Armstrong Browning Library, and Dr. Matthew Fendt, lecturer in the computer science department, discussed what they wanted for the video game.

“All I knew was that they were interested in making an educational video game that had something to do with the Brownings,” Borderud said. “I had no idea what they were capable of. We decided that we would like the game to introduce players to the lives of the Brownings and some of their works.”

The game takes players to each of the stain glass windows in the library’s Elizabeth Barrett Browning salon. Players go through four levels that each require a different task, such as piecing together torn parts of a letter from Robert to Elizabeth, or finding and returning a memento to Elizabeth. Baylor has access, from either the special collection or the digital collection, to each of the letters and poems in the game. While Baylor has hard copies of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese,” the letters from Robert to Elizabeth are currently held in the Browning Collection in Wellesley College, located in Massachusetts.

“The neat thing about the video game is that we were able to bring things from Baylor and from Wellesley together for the video game,” Borderud said.

This project began when Royse and Kliphon had to create a video game for their summer capstone course, taught by Fendt. Because Fendt was a fellow at the Armstrong Browning Library, the Armstrong Browning Library had to be incorporated to the class.

“The fellowship gave me the opportunity for good classroom experience but also to do some research as well,” Fendt said.

While the students were required to connect the game to the library, the choice of centering the game around the Brownings’ relationship was all their own.

“This is similar to what they will experience in the industry,” Fendt said. “They will have some constraints but can use creativity to make it their own.”

Said Dr. Fendt, the students faced challenges such as making a good game in only six weeks and making sure the game is widely available, and he said they managed to be successful.

“The students really took on the project as their own,” Fendt said. “I provided a lot of guidance for the beginning of the semester but then they took it and ran with it. The best part is that the students took an idea that was given to them and made it their own.”

“Time Historian” can be found on the Armstrong Browning website as a free download.

“I hope that Baylor students will try the game out and I hope that they will follow up and visit the library if they haven’t,” Borderud said. “I think that playing the game will make the visit more meaningful.”