Toronto Metropolitan University
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Chinatown Time Machine: A Research Creation Project on Game Design and Cultural Heritage

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posted on 2024-06-17, 22:28 authored by Yifan Kong
One of the largest Chinatowns in the world, located downtown and sprawling out from the intersection of Dundas Street and Spadina Avenue, Toronto's Chinatown has drawn immigrants from southern China and Hong Kong, and more recently from mainland China. It has a deeply textured history marked by geographic and ethnic shifts as well as government expropriation. How do we remember these layered and sometimes obscured histories and stories? This Major Research Paper provides answers by creating a theoretical model intersecting theories of cultural memory with theories of game studies for the design of a research creation project focussed on Chinatown's cultural history. Chinatown Time Machine is a serious game with educational and cultural value that aims at exploring and sharing the history of Toronto Chinatown and examining a new form of digital archive as inspirations for future cultural recuperations. Equipped with augmented reality (AR) technology, and wearable devices, Chinatown Time Machine allows players to gain an immersive virtual experience at the core of Toronto city and travel to the time they selected to live the life of residents at Toronto's Chinatowns and witness significant events in the history of Toronto Chinatown. For example, players may be able to experience the Chinese Victory Celebrations parade at Chinatown if they chooseAugust 26, 1945, on Elizabeth Street. The concept of this serious game is to guide players to explore the stories behind the change of the city. This project helps address two key issues of technology knowledge feasibility, as well as the need for technology savvy staffing. Hence, in this game design document I focus on promoting the history of Toronto Chinatown along with the history of Chinese immigrants in Toronto. Players will take the time machine, travel back in history, and immerse in the life of individuals at different historical times in Toronto Chinatown.





  • Master of Digital Media


  • Digital Media

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Irene Gammel



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