The Salem Witchcraft Games

As a Game Design Fellow from the Duke Games and Culture Lab, I designed and tested  prototypes of analog and digital games that would communicate the insights of my dissertation using through interaction.


I primarily focused on an analog role playing game that enacted the Salem Trials, based on primary source materials from original court documents. Multiple game options simulate different explanations of the trials and allow players to inhabit the roles of the Accused, Afflicted, court officials, and bystanders to understand how the trials happened as the result of conflicting systems of belief.

The current digital form is a hypertext narrative developed in Twine that tells the story of Dorothy Goode, the youngest victim of the trials at only 5 years old. I began this project from my desire to imagine the experience of the children accused in some of the earliest documented cases of court child abuse in what would become the United States. Players experience arrest and incarceration as Dorothy through a combination of trial document transcripts and narrative reenactment based on historical research. The game is used primarily as a research tool, due to the sensitive nature of the content is not planned for wider release.

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