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Game on at Wentworth Woodhouse

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Two cutting-edge Sheffield digital agencies are helping Rotherham’s Georgian country house Wentworth Woodhouse go 21st century to engage with young visitors.

JoiPolloi and Field Studio are collaborating to create Hide&Find, an innovative digital activity which children and families can play on mobile phones.

Children visiting the mansion’s 55-acre gardens will be able to step into an animated world, join a mission to find the Guardians of Wentworth Woodhouse and discover their stories.

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Each Guardian is a stylised illustration of a real figure from the mansion’s history. They include Marquesses and their ladies, loyal gardeners and maids – even wild and exotic animals that once inhabited the Marquess’s famed Menagerie in the gardens.

In the game, Guardians will issue clues and ‘gifts’ to help players on their journey of discovery and young gamers can link up with other players in the gardens.

The project fuses Joi Polloi’s technical expertise with Field’s design talent. The game is a custom web application, interfacing with QR codes placed around the grounds which players scan as part of the experience.

“We are rolling history, mystery and mission into a fun and irresistible game,” Russell Stearman, Joi Polloi’s Technical Director explained. “Hide&Find will enable an 18th century visitor attraction to interact with 21st century kids. 

“This important South Yorkshire landmark is fast-becoming a must-see tourist attraction. We are all very proud to be using our digital and creative skills to help Wentworth Woodhouse reach younger audiences.”

Double BAFTA Award-winning Joi Polloi is an independent digital studio specialising in creating compelling digital experiences, bespoke platforms and innovative products.

Since launching in 2003 it has attracted illustrious clients from across the sectors – including the BBC, Film4, Love Productions and Zoella.

Based in the heart of Sheffield’s creative industries, Field Studio was founded in 2009 by Katie Daniel and Jonny Briggs. Field has designed creative physical, digital and printed experiences for The Royal College of Art, Sheffield College, The Royal Life Saving Society, Interior Educators, University of Sheffield and The Science Museum Group.

Commented Katie: “We’re very excited to be involved in this project, it’s a beautiful area that we were already familiar with. For us to be working on a game that creatively engages with a younger audience, allowing them to play Hide&Find without the need to download an app, in a safe environment, has been very rewarding. We hope young visitors enjoy it as much as we have!”

Hide&Find will launch at the end of August. The two creative agencies are also partnering to provide a new website and three virtual tours of the house, which could launch in the autumn, for the Preservation Trust which now owns and is restoring the Grade I Listed house and its gardens.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust said: “Finding innovative new ways to attract visitors is very important as we regenerate this historic house and grow South Yorkshire tourism.

“Sheffield’s digital brains are helping us connect with and entertain our most techno-savvy visitors –  children.

“Youngsters love digital games and Hide&Find is fun but educational too. Players get a mini history lesson about Wentworth Woodhouse!”

Images: WWPT

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Tom Austen
Tom grew up in Aston, Rotherham and studied Human Geography at Nottingham Trent University before developing a passion for promoting Rotherham and a nose for a good story.

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