High Tea

developer: Preloaded (for Wellcome Collection)

genre: simulation

educational purpose: raise interest in the 19-century opium trade and wars, and in general in Britain’s history (but the game is primarily targeted at raising interest in the contents of the Wellcome Collection and engage with one of the exhibition’s themes)

target audience: all

H&H taxonomy class: historical reconstruction (of a specific period)

web site: http://hightea.wellcomeapps.com/

release date: 2010

platform: browser

High Tea is a strategy game based around the opium trade in China’s Pearl Delta in the 1830s. The player takes the role of a British opium smuggler, selling opium in order to buy enough tea to slake Victorian Britain’s thirst. The game covers nine years of history and ends when the First Opium war of 1839 breaks out. The game was commissioned as part of the web presence for “High Society”, a Wellcome Collection exhibition that ran between November 2010 and February 2011, exploring the history and culture of recreational drug use, displaying a combination of historical artefacts and contemporary artwork.


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