Nightingale’s Playground

Nightingale’s Playground is work of digital fiction by Andy Campbell and Judi Alston.  Digital fiction is “fiction written for and read on a computer screen that pursues its verbal, discursive and/or conceptual complexity through the digital medium, and would lose something of its aesthetic and semiotic function if it were removed from that medium.” Nightingale’s Playground is divided into four interlinked parts: an atmospheric browser based experience; an interactive virtual book with pages you can turn with the mouse; a short e-book download; and an immersive real-time 3D game for PC and Mac. This work by Campbell and Alston can be found on the site Dreaming Methods.


Nightingale’s Playground starts with the reader/player, playing as a man, Carl,  whose is now living in a tiny room.  The reader soon learns that he has recently gone through a break up with this girlfriend, and left all of his possessions at her house, besides a red case that he has no idea why he took. he hasn’t even opened the case in about 10 years.  The reader is soon introduced to the character, Alex, whom, supposedly why a school mate of Carl’s.  Carl remember being good friends with Alex, however, no one else from school remembers him.  This is where the story really beings.  The reader is then taken on a journey through Carl’s life as a teenage schoolboy, to find out who Alex is and if he is a part of Carl’s imagination, then why did Carl imagine him up.


In 1989 Carl is a teenage schoolboy and lives with his grandmother.  The day in question that the reader is taken back to, it is raining very hard.  The spends his time hanging out with Alex, an oddball kid obsessed with pseudo- philosophy and computer games. Carl, spends his time hanging out with Alex, who is obsessed with pseudo- philosophy and computer games.  They also like to play a game, Sentinel, where one of the boys would and the other would have to stand at the same spot and look around to see if he could see the other without moving,  This was created from their idea that the Sentinel could always see you no matter where you were.    Alex end up disappearing for no reason and Carl starts finding weird objects in his grandmother’s house, such as, his science fieldwork book which reveals mysterious numeric codes .  It’s up to player to discover what all of these objects mean, and whether Alex was real or not, and what happened to him.


Andy Campbell is a digital writer who has been working at the forefront of digital fiction since 1994. He is the author of Dreaming Methods.  In 2010 he was a judge for Poole Literature Festival’s pioneering New Media Writing Prize, the first major prize in the UK to celebrate electronic literature. He is co-director of One to One Productions Ltd, creating and facilitating film commissions and multimedia projects for communities, agencies, arts organizations and charities. Judi Alston is an artist and film-maker who founded and is currently co-director of One to One Productions Ltd. She has a track record spanning 20 years as a camera person, editor, director and producer in commissions for: charities, television, festivals and arts organizations. Judi has an extensive portfolio as a project manager and producer of community arts and research projects, often working as an advisor and consultant to NGOs both in the UK and overseas.

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