Soul of a Place is an educational journey and discovery about the Federal Writers Project of the Great Depression, enacted as part of President Franklin Roosevelt's efforts to put Americans back to work. In this game prototype, players travel back to the 1930's, role-playing as field writers and editors working on America's first guidebooks.
Players can experience the game narrative through different historical FWP Writers. This astonishing range of voices play out in narratives of anti-Immigrant sentiment or anti-Black segregation to immerse players in a challenging simulation of the cultural landscape of the 1930's. Teachers might use these different roles to promote jigsawing, a technique in which after playing different roles, students come together at the end of the lesson to create a shared artifact, drawing on their various different perspectives.
Developed in conjunction with Spark Media, Soul of a Place is an immersive game-based learning experience that is designed to promote historical thinking. The content of the game comes from research undertaken for the NEH-funded feature length documentary Soul Of A People: Writing America’s Story and its companion book Soul Of A People: The WPA Writers' Project Uncovers Depression America.