The viewer enters a hall of paintings and steps up onto a pedestal to take a good look at each piece of artwork.
Atwood Art Explorer is a game designed by senior graphic design major Josh Thomes as part of a project to digitally celebrate St. Cloud State University’s history for the sesquicentennial celebration.
Students from Professor Maureen O’Brien’s public history course and art students from Professor Bill Gorcica’s Intermediate Graphic Design IV: Research and Investigation with Technology, shared their projects with campus Dec. 13 during a presentation in Kiehle Visual Arts Center.
The projects explored St. Cloud State history — from campus ghosts to diversity and student activism to the Blizzard mascot’s many forms — through video games and digital magazines to interactive exhibits. While the projects haven’t been completed, the creativity presented showcases the many ways available to interact with history.
The graphic design students were directed to find a way to show the history of the university in a way people could interact with it through technology and design.
It was an overwhelming topic, but everyone responded in their own way, said Anne Chase, a senior graphic design student in the class.
“Seeing how everybody interpreted that was really cool, and we all built off of each other and through feedback the projects just became that much better,” she said.
Chase designed “GATHER” an interactive display that shares the photos and stories of student gatherings on the St. Cloud State campus.
The exhibit requires at least three people to work together to stand at different platforms in the exhibit to reveal the entire image and an audio description of the history surrounding the image.
“Everything that causes students to gather leaves an imprint on SCSU history,” Chase said in her project description “The activities, events, protests, et cetera are what makes the university unique. My goal is for participants to be actively involved in making history come to life.”
The hardest part for the students was learning new technology and platforms to bring their history to view in a new way, said Kyle Imdieke, a public history student who built a walking tour of campus showcasing student activism and diverse speakers, visitors and students.
— Josh Thomes, senior graphic design major
Tim Johnson, a graphic design student created “Blizzard’s Evolution”, a video game that allows the player to learn about the evolution of the Blizzard mascot as they level up to a new iteration of the mascot.
Johnson presented the first level of the game Dec. 13 and plans to continue working on it to have all levels complete to present during Huskies Showcase in April. He hopes that it will someday be available for Huskies fans to enjoy.
Even though he didn’t know how to code or build a video game before starting the project, Johnson took time to learn coding outside of the classroom to build his game. He’s also since found a new passion for game design and joined the Video Design club on campus.
“This class has been very fun,” he said.
“I think the best part about it is how each student reached the conclusion of using their own abilities to solve this problem of how to explore sesquicentennial history,” he said. “They each just brought their own creative aspect into the project and it was pretty good. Personally, I think it’s amazing what everyone else was doing.”
A video demonstration of Anne Chase’s “Gallery.”