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Urban game | Saint Petersburg, 27.04.2019

Biographical games are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s very easy to fall into the rut of patterns – to show some known facts from the “life and work” of famous characters in the game. On the other hand, inspirational and less obvious moments can be found in each character’s story, and those facts that are commonly known can be shown from a different angle. After all, games are a very flexible medium that allows you to put accents as the creators consider more suitable and interesting (or as it will be advantageous from the point of view of the game). Finally, in the game you can also tell stories that did not happen but could have happened.

The first idea for the game was to develop the imaginary story of a poetic duel of Mickiewicz with Pushkin. Poets did compete with each other to some extent, they argued, among others, about St. Petersburg – it is said that the answer to Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), in which our prophet criticizes the city on the shores of Neva, is Pushkin’s  The Bronze Horseman.

We wanted to play the duel in the modern convention of rap battles. Ultimately, we decided that using the duel theme in relation to Pushkin is not the best solution (Pushkin was killed in a duel).

Among architects there is a well-known saying:

That Rome was built by hands of multiple people,

Whereas the gods themselves built Venice;

But whoever has seen Petersburg will say this:

The city was probably built by devils.

(Adam Mickiewicz, a fragment from the part III of Forefathers’ Eve about St. Petersburg)

In the game, we used a different story that could have happened. Adam Mickiewicz stayed in St. Petersburg several times, lived in various places and met with important contemporary figures of the world of culture. In our game, Adam has been kidnapped and the players’ task is – of course – to find him.

During the game, the teams visited several locations related to the activities and work of the prophet in St. Petersburg, the tasks were mainly related to the language, several of them also talked about references to Mickiewicz in contemporary culture. And at the end of the game it turned out that … there was no kidnapping. Adam – the progenitor of modern pranksters – faked his kidnapping himself.

Organizer: Instytut Polski w Sankt Petersburgu (head: Ewa Ziółkowska, game coordinator: Magda Michel)

Partners: Gazeta Petersburska, Petersburski, Parafia katolicka św.Katarzyny w Sankt Petersburgu (Dominikanie), Szkoła nr 216 w Sankt Petersburgu, Bar Warszawa (Kazańska 7)

Game design: Michał Grelewski

Animators: Olga Oniszczuk, Aleksandra Rusek, Vasilina Mirgorodskaia, Aleksandr Purgin, Magdalena Michel, Christine Bobrova

Adam Mickiewicz played by: Aleksander Machlin

Photo: Denis Szczegłów

Graphics: Jakub Dygas

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