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Astrologaster

Figure

Astrologaster. Artist: Adam Clark. Copyright Nyamyam Limited from the game Astrologaster.

Simon Forman’s casebooks inspired a video game. Astrologaster is a story-rich astrological comedy set in Shakespeare’s London. Players take on the role of Dr Simon Forman and use his astrological methods to treat his patients. Astrologaster is being developed by Nyamyam and will be released for PC and iOS in 2019. The fictional Forman tweets @doctorforman. More information about the game is available at https://astrologaster.com/. Casebooks is a historical consultant for the game.

The idea for the game was seeded in September 2014 when Lauren Kassell from Casebooks and Jennifer Schneidereit from Nyamyam, an independent game developer, met at the Clover Project games workshop at the Sanger Institute. Our collaboration began a year later, when Jennifer visited the Casebooks Project and we had a long conversation about Forman, his manuscripts, his patients, and the histories of astrology and medicine. As the game developed, Casebooks provided selections of material from Forman’s records and information about his methods and suggested further readings. We read drafts of the character summaries and storylines and provided feedback about their historical accuracy, focusing especially on the social dynamics of early modern medical practice, the politics of the early modern medical marketplace, and how patients and practitioner understood health and disease. We encouraged the uses of humour and deliberate anachronism, rather than romanticised nostalgia, to challenge players to think about meanings of health and illness. From the perspective of Casebooks, working on Astrologaster contributed to our thinking about the performative nature of the casebooks; about how to (re)present the casebooks in our search interface; and about innovative ways to communicate the history of medicine to both academic and non-academic audiences.

Cite this as: Lauren Kassell, Michael Hawkins, Robert Ralley, and John Young, ‘Astrologaster’, A Critical Introduction to the Casebooks of Simon Forman and Richard Napier, 1596–1634, https://casebooks.lib.cam.ac.uk/about-us/astrologaster, accessed 14 December 2018.