Friday 4 June 2010, 11:57
My kids love CBBC - they play it all the time. Sure, they like the TV channel as well, but it's the website and the games that come first. That's not to say that TV doesn't matter to them any more.
Once a week, the programme we all sit down for, as a family, is Doctor Who. But that's not enough for them - they want to play as well as watch. That's why we've created the Doctor Who Adventure Games.
In our house, given a choice, my kids will always head for the computer first, the games console second before turning on the TV - books sadly come a distant fourth, which is why they rarely do get a choice.
My four-year-old can easily navigate and play on the CBeebies site; the older ones choose the worlds of Little Big Planet, Club Penguin and Moshi Monsters over most the TV has to offer. When they do watch TV, they want to watch programmes which have games they can also play, such as the brilliant Horrible Histories.
Our aim with the Doctor Who Adventure Games is to enable all Doctor Who fans - kids and adults, experienced and uncertain gamers - to enjoy four new episodes where they can play and interact with the action, rather than just watch.
City Of The Daleks, the first interactive episode is available to play now on the Doctor Who website and will be followed a few weeks later by the second and third episodes. You'll get to play the fourth and final game later in the year.
We know that our audiences are demanding and if we do something on this scale, it has to be high quality, it has to be innovative and it has to work as a game.
So we joined forces with experts from the games world. We put Charles Cecil, creator of titles such as the Broken Sword franchise, and Sumo, a Sheffield-based games development company together with the writers and producers of the new series of Doctor Who - Phil Ford and James Moran. They were overseen by Steven Moffat and the producers of the TV series.
The results have been extraordinary - both teams have learned from each other. The TV teams have had to learn about how storytelling works in game environments.
The game developers have had to deal with a hero who breaks many of the rules of traditional game play - he won't use violence, must rely on ingenuity and stealth to achieve tasks and effectively already has a skeleton key to open every door he encounters - his sonic screwdriver.
Set designs on TV have been influenced by the game designs and within the Adventure Games we've have been able to take audiences to environments which would be impossible on TV - frozen worlds, underwater worlds, inside the Tardis and in the first episode, to a devastated Trafalgar Square in London and then to the Dalek home planet of Skaro.
You'll be able to download them, for free, from the Doctor Who website (unless you're abroad in which case we're making arrangements for other sites to offer them).
We've tried to make this process as simple and painless as possible and one that will work on as many computers as possible (the Mac version will unfortunately be a week or so late but be assured - it's coming!).
We think we've created stories and an extension of the Doctor Who world and mythology that can proudly sit alongside the best episodes and storylines of the past and present - but this time you control the action, you are the Doctor (except when you're Amy!).
I hope those new to games will take their first steps in an environment which will show that games are a wonderful creative medium in their own right.
And, a place where occasionally they might like to join their kids for some good, old-fashioned playtime.
Please do let us know what you think.
Simon Nelson is controller, portfolio and multiplatform, BBC Vision
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Friday 4 June 2010, 10:35
Monday 7 June 2010, 10:05