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a curious search for the 13th department

Urban game, promo campaign | Łódź, 29.05.2010

The best projects are born when all parties involved are on the same wavelength, encourage each other and develop an original idea all together. The same’s valid for games. In the case of a game “In Search of the 13th department”, it all started with a wonderful idea, which as a Department of Games we developed most successfully; our client was the Center for the Promotion of the University of Łódź , our animators participating in the project were the students from various university departments.

The storyline of the game was the history of the thirteenth department – the university’s secret research unit, bringing together the best scientists from the other twelve officially existing departments. What did the secret department do? Of course, it solved highly mysterious problems, since even the university’s leadership officially denied its existence. As usually happens in such cases – someone found out about the existence of the department and disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

The University of Łódź was founded in 1945. It must have consisted of six departments.”

“There is no such thing as the thirteenth department though”

(from a statement by Rafał Majda – Deputy Chancellor of the University of Łódź).

The plot described in this way gave us great opportunities both in terms of promoting the game and for the game itself. The advertising campaign was based on the multiple performances of “whistleblowers” telling the truth about the department of the University of Łódź. In the classrooms of the university, at educational fairs and on the streets, one could meet people (ourselves) who talked about the thirteenth department and each time someone silenced them. Already at the stage of the advertising campaign, we started playing this game with the Center for the Promotion of the University of Łódź  – for one inconsistent step, we sent a threatening letter to the Center (the text of the letter was professionally cut out from letters taken from newspapers). What did the Center do? The same thing that the best customer would have done – the center called upon the detective community to study the letter for any traces left on it and carefully report about the outcome in social networks.

This mutual rivalry went even further in the game itself – students of different departments  liked our concept so much that the locations they prepared turned out to be true masterpieces, each of which was better than the other one. Thus, we had a great crime scene at the Department of Law, prepared by the forensic medicine scientists, we had a biological contamination zone at the Department of Biology (which is an acute and poignant topic at the time when I am typing this – in April 2020), and in the Tower of Babel in Łódź (hostel for foreigners) we prepared a task for an African shaman.

It was assumed that this would be a wonderful game to mark the 65th anniversary of the largest university in Łódź. The presumption was a true and led to the success.

At the request of the University of Łódź  (Promotion Center led by Michał Kędzierski)

Project Coordinator: Michał Grelewski

Game designers: Vojislav Radojicić, Przemysław Bogusławski

Graphic design: Kamil Rusiecki

Video: Bartosz Kruk

Animators: Olga Żukowicz, Maria Frankiewicz, Marlena Walas, Maciej Zasadziński, Michał Bogucki, Michał Kozłowski, Agnieszka Adamczewska, Justyna Bogucka, Łukasz Lechowski, Ania Zarębska, Piotr Czaiński, Kasia Kwiatkowska, Ania Mozer

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