• Client: National Geographic
  • Date: October 2015
  • Website: Case Study Video
  • Responsiblities: Creative Direction, Concept Development, Game Design, User Interface, Web Development
  • Technology: HTML5, SASS, CSS3, JavaScript ES6, PHP

We needed to teach people the truth behind the history.
So we turned it into a game.

Most Americans only know the kindergarten version of the Thanksgiving story. To reveal its true complexity, we created a narrative strategy game that allowed visitors to relive, and potentially rewrite the history that led to this seminal American holiday.

Players were placed on the path of the Plymouth Pilgrims and forced to face the same impossible choices, with every decision burdened by balancing supplies, diplomacy, faith, and well-being. As was the case in 1620, the goal was to establish a colony and keep as many alive as possible. And just like the Pilgrims, players soon came to realize there were often no choices free of consequences – and the first Thanksgiving was just one peaceful moment amid a sea of murky diplomatic situations that shaped American history.

Over 20,000 lines of JavaScript ES6 were crafted to create our game engine, providing players at least 24 unique pathways through the experience. Each decision was extensively researched to provide in-depth, accurate historical context, and advice from historical figures helped guide our digital pilgrims along the way, though ultimately the choice was theirs.

It the end, players were provided a customized narrative ending that reflects the ultimate fate of their colony, along with a play-by-play timeline that showed where they stayed true to, or deviated, from history.