The page range from Bodmer 48 included in the prototype depicts Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale,” which tells the story of a knight who is put on trial for the rape of a woman. Offering him a chance at penitence, the Queen orders the knight to search the realm and in the span of a year learn the answer to the question: "What do women most desire?" From this perspective, the tale is a clear quest story with an explicitly defined time limit, two concepts which transfer over to game conventions very easily. Since the trial is both the crisis and the climax of the tale, we thought it was the most obvious scene to gamify and took cues from Capcom's Ace Attorney series, which gamifies the judicial process by having the player collect evidence, rearrange the evidence in a logical order, and present the defense to a judge for evaluation. Hence we decided that the mini-game would involve searching the manuscript page and collecting letters to the Middle English word "soverenite," which would then be presented to the Queen as evidence that the Knight had learned his lesson---thereby having the player imitate the action and conclusion of Chaucer's tale.


We decided early on to reinterpret the scene as part of a sort of on-going microdrama between our eagle mascot, the player's partner character, and mischievous cyber-bugs that have taken root in the manuscript pages and are gradually corrupting their data. 

Golden Eagle

Self-employed librarian and archival enthusiast, the Eagle descends from the chaos of the corrupted Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library to serve as your trusty partner in the Book of Fame prototype. He takes on the role of your Defence in the oncoming trial, meeting the Worm Queen's intimidation with a sharp tongue and an even sharper beak.

Worm Grunts

Digital Bookworms have taken up nest within the manuscript pages and are eating away at the precious tales contained. Rowdy and up to no good, these fellas are found in corrupted areas of the manscript and will not tolerate being clicked on. If they were big enough to be heard, they'd probably sound like Joe Pesci too.

Worm QUEen

A class above the rest, this Digital Bookworm has burrowed her way into the "Wife of Bath's Tale" and is dead-set on rewriting the end of the story. By her command, the worm grunts have locked the pages of the manuscript and scattered the pivotal word upon which the narrative---and the Knight's life---rests. Her attire may or may not be inspired by the Queen of Hearts from Disney's Alice in Wonderland

king Arthur

Known by many names---Wielder of Excalibur, The Once and Future King, Charlie Hunnam---King Arthur presides over the trial of the Knight. Once a legendary hero, the old King has grown oddly complacent in the last 1400 years, unable to realize that his Queen has been replaced by a particularly aggressive worm.

The Knight (You!)

All you wanted to do was read the "Wife of Bath's Tale," but now you're down the rabbit hole and facing execution at the hands (er...clitellae?) of a worm in disguise. Thanks to the quick thinking of your Defense, you've been granted 365 days (plus one for the day in court---even a worm has principles) to discover what women most want. Fail and face invertebrasure.

THE Lens of auctoritee

While leafing through Bodmer 48's rendition of the "Wife of Bath's Tale," you stumble upon a suspicious and illegible area of 84 recto. Your partner explains that, due to a recent bug infestation, portions of the manuscript data have become corrupted and that it will be necessary to root out the source of the corruption if you wish to finish reading the tale. Using a magical artifact, the Lens of Auctoritee, you can expose the Digital Bookworms infesting the corruption and engage in a mini-game to wrest back authoritative control over the text from the mischevious critters.  


Upon peering through the Lens of Auctoritee, you discover that Digital Bookworms have put up shop over the very word upon which the climax of the "Wife of Bath's Tale" rests. The Eagle confronts the Bookworms on your behalf, hoping that they will leave quietly, but diplomacy proves ineffective and you soon find yourself thrust onto the stand of a courtroom as the book itself is transformed into a stage for an oddly familiar, if somewhat paper-flat, microdrama. A humourous cutscene plays out atop the manuscript pages in which a Bookworm, clad in the Queen's garb, accuses you of heinous crimes and demands your swift execution---lest you agree to play her game and tell her that which women most desire. Upon your consent, the Worm Queen proceeds to rip the letters from the corrupted area of the manuscript and scatter them among other words on the open pages. 


As in the "Wife of Bath's Tale," you are given one year to discover that which women most desire. However, you are prohibited to leave the realm lest be branded a fugitive, which the Worm Queen cunningly ensures by having her army of Digital Bookworms lock all ports and prevent you from turning either page before this period is over. Luckily, the Eagle has one more trick up as his wing and presents you with the Flashlight Tool, which will allow you to expose the target letters that have been superimposed atop other letters and words on the manuscript's pages. Shining the flashlight's beam onto these misplaced letters will cause the letters to quiver in fear, eventually to the point that they will leap from the manuscript page and be captured by the Eagle.

As you capture more and more letters, the Eagle will keep track of them all on your Inventory screen. Keep an eye on the Wife of Bath as she travels counter-clockwise across your menu, however: you only have 366 days to find all of the letters, and days can seem to fly by in seconds (literally). Once you have collected all ten letters, the Eagle will inform you that it will be necessary to rearrange the letters in a coherent order---that is, to unscramble the letters so that they spell our the desired word, which will be your answer to the Queen's question. When you are confident in the order of the letters, click on the corrupted area of the manuscript once more to resume the trial and present your answer to the Queen. If your answer is correct, you will have beaten the Queen at her own game and successfully debugged the corrupted area of the manuscript, enabling you to finish reading the tale.


Given how closely the microdrama of the mini-game's narrative and mechanics imitate the action of the "Wife of Bath's Tale," we believe that this mini-game illustrates at the level of a proof-of-concept how gamified interactions can enhance the reading (and indeed learning) experience of a digital manuscript. Such mini-games would be a useful supplement to teaching medieval manuscripts and their narratives to high school and undergraduate students, while tailoring the puzzles and mechanics themselves to individual lessons. 

Of course, the primary purpose of this mini-game is to provide a sense of how IIIF functions can lend themselves to gamification. Here we use the IIIF cropping function to isolate and scatter the letters of the word "soverenite," as well as the word's coordinates on the shared canvas to obscure the word by layering a distorted image on top of it. Of course, the IIIF manuscript is also used as the very stage of the courtroom drama, which highlights the degree to which IIIF images can be repurposed within Unity as object textures to create interesting and unique visual environments.

Again, this mini-game is intended as a very short and simple proof of concept. As IIIF continues to partner with further institutions and increase its chest of accessible images, the creative possibilities for using IIIF to texture objects in Unity and gamify cultural heritage artifacts will only continue to multiply. We hope that this mini-game encourages all IIIF developers to think about how their own research objects can be rendered in 3D and gamified to reveal new and innovative interactions that enhance the user's experience.