The user splats (with finger or mouse) objects moving up the screen to gain points. This activity was used to accommodate two dozen portraits of Medusa produced by 16 year olds from a special school during a project on re-interpreting Greek pots in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology. It has since been used as a digital Christmas card, most recently in 2017 with local heritage icons mixed in with traditional Christmas ones. Players had to avoid ‘splatting’ the heritage sites or they would lose points. The game has thus been used in two ways.

First to encourage the SEN pupils to participate at a level suitable for them, participation taking two forms – choosing and studying some ancient artefacts and then creating their own interpretation with portraits. In this case, the cartoon-like depictions of Medusa on the original objects seemed to resonate with the students (see Medusa animation), they picked up the snake-hair, but created figures of a wide-ranging nature, from pure, ashen spotty horror to besuited business person. This activity has been successfully run at a local festival as a competition. Visitors to the RG Spaces stand tried their hand at splatting for 30 seconds, the game being set up on iPads in the tent. The winners in various age categories by the end of the day were contacted and prizes delivered. It was instructive to note the competitive nature of many participants, including adults, and the game was a great leveller, younger children having better reactions often than their elders. Of course, RG Spaces had an ulterior motive, while people were playing, it proved a good time to chat with their families about the museum and the local heritage spaces.

Second, to highlight some local aspects of heritage in a simple, fun way – a Christmas card.

Techie stuff – the game is HTML5-based and runs in the user’s browser on their own device (from PC to smartphone). It is open source and can be played at (and downloaded from) splat.imuse.org.uk. Images can be changed to suit a particular heritage site/activity.

Ideas for activities

A heritage site can set up a splat game using its own images, perhaps with the background being the site itself. This can be advertised on the website/twitter etc and at the site. Competitions can be run as above.

The game proved a good way of using visitors’ own artwork in a fun and inclusive way, without the work necessarily being of a high artistic standard. Producing one’s own drawing encourages looking more closely at objects or places and it is then rewarding to have it ‘used’ by the site for other visitors.