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Unveiling California History Through Serious Games: Fort Ross Virtual Warehouse


Between 1812 and 1841, Fort Ross was a Russian fur trading outpost and multi-cultural colony located in the Northern California coast. Current Fort Ross is a popular California State Historic Park visited every year by over 100,000 visitors from all over the world. In March 2011, California State Parks and the University of California Merced started the Fort Ross Virtual Warehouse project— a digital scholarship initiative aimed to enhance a pilot serious game on Fort Ross developed by California State Parks Staff in the early 2000s— with the goal to explore novel ways for archiving, disseminating, and teaching cultural and historical information. After twenty-four months of development, Fort Ross Virtual Warehouse serious game is ready to be tested in a user study with elementary school students. This paper exposes key features, design solutions and game mechanics of Fort Ross Virtual Warehouse along with preliminary assessments of the game performed as an expert evaluation by the leader of the Special Interest Group on “serious games for humanities and heritage” of the GALA Network of Excellence (

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