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Hellink: the project
• Hellink is an educative game developed by the Teaching
Department of the Pierre et Marie Curie University Library for Sorbonne
Universités. Its goal is to raise awareness of information literacy among
students: researching, criticising, exploiting and quoting reliable
sources, especially in the context of a scientific research work.
• The game’s structure is an alternation between narrative phases and
gameplay phases. For short courses, it is possible to directly access a
A « Serious game »?
• Hellink is an educative game which aims for coherence between
storytelling, gameplay and teaching.
• This game is… a game => It’s a real game, with an original scenario,
its own gameplay, and a global setting with the quality standards of
the indie game scene.
• The target audience is the bachelor students. It can be used beyond
the bachelor’s degree to review the basics of this domain.
Hellink – Use
There are two main modes for the game:
• Information literacy tutorials usually last for 2h.
• Depending on the seminar needs, the teacher can use one precise
level of the game themed around one notion to talk about it.
• Each level revolves around one precise notion.
At the library or at home (5-10h):
• The student plays alone on a computer.
• Linear story mode, with phases of narration and gameplay. Total play
time: 5-10 hours.
• The game will be freely available online for everyone.
Hellink – Educational goals
The educational goals are:
Define a research subject:
Define the required level of what one wants to publish, how to
structure one’s research, how to find pertinent keywords on a subject.
We focus on 2 main aspects:
1) Keyword research: Once the subject is defined, the student must look
for relevant keywords to use in their research.
2) Level of complexity: Selecting the right level of complexity for the
keywords and sources depending on the type of work (bachelor,
Hellink – Educational goals
Understand what is a scientifically valid document:
Know the difference between publication formats (book, scientific
journal, thesis, researcher blogs…).
Know the questions to ask in order to keep a critical eye on any
piece of information, and know which factors can harm its credibility.
Quote one’s sources:
Avoid plagiarism and respect quotation rules for one’s own
information sources to make one’s publication usable by others.
Hellink – Educational goals
• Goal : not giving a thorough technical training, but raising
awareness about those notions.
• The precise technical elements are for the teacher to explain.
• The game makes those notions appealing and makes the
player practice them in an entertaining way through its
Hellink – Training in the humanities
Beyond the use of this analytical eye in the sole scientific context, the
game aims for formation to the digital humanities and popular
• Practicing one’s critical sense beyond the scientific context, but also
in the player’s everyday life and their relationship with society.
• Understanding the need for precise and complete information in our
complex period of time to go beyond appearances and understand
our society’s mechanics.
• Showing fictional situations in a sci-fi universe echoing our reality, to
invite players to question it.
• Platform: PC (+ tablet/smartphone)
• Development: Unity
• Number of players: 1
• Genre: Reflexion
• Target : Bachelor students at
• Goal : strong gameplay and narrative values, close to
an indie game.
• Gameplay-theme coherence:
• The gameplay offers a real challenge to the
• The gameplay is not an excuse to talk about
educational notions through storytelling, but it
makes the player directly practice those notions.
• Adaptation to the audience:
• The game will be played during university
tutorials, hence by gamers and non-gamers alike.
• It avoids being punitive to avoid rejecting non-
• It offers optional challenges to give gamers the
challenge they like.
• 3 gameplay phases:
• 1/3 : Dialogues for story development. Fixed screen, characters talking in
• 2/3 : This gameplay phase focuses on defining the subject and
understanding research tools: the player must find several keywords linked
to a particular subject and assess their complexity level by browsing a
corpus of text as quickly as possible.
Gameplay: Source reliability
• 3/3 : Inspired by Papers, Please. Practicing the critical eye on an
information source. The opponent presents a false assertion and several
sources backing it up. The player must find the errors in the sources and
link them with the publication rules they break to point the inconsistencies.
General tone and artistic direction
• One main inspiration: Ace Attorney !
• Emphasis on elaborated narration served
by the gameplay.
• Omnipresent humour to lighten the mood
and make the game immediately
• Strong and more serious emotion moments
at key plot points.
• Exaggerated and off the wall situations in a
The game’s world
• Atmosphere: Science-fiction.
• Place/Time: Paris, 2044. Université Pierre et Marie Curie.
• Protagonist: A female expert in cybercriminality and data security.
• Pitch: An investigation in the university about a large-scale
hacking, leading to a murder and the revelation of a worldwide
• Appealing representation of the universe of information:
– Exaggerated representation of virtual worlds (VR, hi-tech,
• References : Ghost in the Shell, Matrix, Transistor…
• Myriam Gorsse : Head of Information Skills Training in the University
Pierre et Marie Curie, Executive producer on Hellink.
• A video game professional team:
• Thomas Planques : Creative director, producer, 10 years of
experience in the video game field.
• 2 game designers
• 1 assistant producer
• 1 environment artist, 1 character designer, 1 UI artist
• 1 developer
• 1 sound designer and composer
• 1 dialogue writer et 1 script doctor
• A game in a sci-fi universe with a humorous
tone, inspired by Ace Attorney, teaching
information research and critical analysis.
• An alliance between the best aspects of
entertainment (compelling fictional universe
and audience implication) and teaching
(focused learning applicable to a more global
apprehension of the world).
• Contacts :
• Myriam Gorsse – Executive producer
• Thomas Planques – Creative director