Discovering a librarian game character

The primary focus of this website is about analyzing librarian portrayals in film, but I have also enjoyed highlighting librarian portrayals in other kinds of media and popular culture. Once you start looking, it’s amazing where librarians pop up — even when you least expect it!

When I’m working online, I occasionally like to take a break and play an online puzzle or word game. Over the winter break, I happened to play a new online game called “The Book of Treasures,” which is similar to “Text Twist,” where you get 6 letters and see if you can figure out all the possible word combinations within a set time limit. Lo and behold, this game featured a librarian! Here’s “The Book of Treasures” game description from its web page:

Jessica West is a librarian at an ancient library that is rumored to house a lost Egyptian manuscript. One day she finds a secret room and discovers 35 envelopes, each containing six letters. Her curiosity piqued, Jessica is on a mission to discover the secret of where the hidden manuscript resides. If you enjoy TextTwist but are ready for a word game and wraps a compelling mystery around challenging gameplay.

(Please note that I am NOT promoting this game, website, or company. I am focusing on the central character in this particular game, who happens to be a librarian.)

Screenshot from 'The Book of Treasures' online game

Screenshot from ‘The Book of Treasures’ online game

The landing page of the online game spolights Jessica the librarian front and center. The angle is from below, so the bookshelves behind her slant up and in. It’s an imposing angle, and Jessica comes across as most definitely no-nonsense, with her piercing stare and eyebrow raised above her half-moon spectacles. She is a mix of contradictions:  Her posture and expression/demeanor are severe and exact, while her bun hairstyle is a bit messy and asymmetrical. Her figure is drawn to be quite feminine while her clothing is modest and practical. The “props” shown on her desk, a clock timer and a cup of coffee, are also practical for the context.

I also found it amusing how the look of the game character of Jessica West seems inspired, at least in part, by the reel librarian character of Evelyn ‘Evy’ Carnahan, a librarian and Egyptologist, from the 1999 film, The Mummy. Below is a side-by-side comparison. There are a LOT of physical similarities, even down to the open-collared, button-down shirt!

Reel Librarians | Comparison of Jessica from 'The Book of Treasures' online game vs Evy Carnahan from 'The Mummy' film

Comparison of Jessica from ‘The Book of Treasures’ online game vs Evy Carnahan from ‘The Mummy’ film

Here’s the backstory of the game as you begin playing:

Screenshot from 'The Book of Treasures' online game

Screenshot from ‘The Book of Treasures’ online game

I like that Jessica’s librarian vocation is front and center, both with the game description online and in the introductory backstory to set up the game. (HOWEVER, the game description states her name as “Jessica West,” while the game story has her name as “Jessica Bright.” Someone didn’t cross-check references…)

In film, librarian characters in film often provide key plot points, to help keep the action moving, and the librarian character in this game also fulfills that same purpose. In addition to providing motivation for the game’s story and context, Jessica the librarian also keeps the gameplay moving along — and no-nonsense chiding when you miss a word or fail to complete a level. When playing the game, you are ostensibly playing as Jessica, but it also feels like you are playing for Jessica, like a student library worker or someone trying desperately to please the librarian as the timer ticks away. This impression is aided by Jessica’s withering stare when you type in a “word not found.”

Screenshot from 'The Book of Treasures' online game

Screenshots from 'The Book of Treasures' online game

Screenshot from ‘The Book of Treasures’ online game

And *SPOILER*, when you complete all the levels to put together the pieces of the puzzle, guess what the ultimate prize is? Recognition and a promotion for the librarian! I approve of this outcome. 😉

Screenshot from 'The Book of Treasures' online game

Screenshot from ‘The Book of Treasures’ online game

The final scrolling credits reveal more details:

Jessica’s name shall be remembered at the Archeology Hall of Fame and she’s become world famous for finding a treasure that was lost for centuries. Jessica has also been promoted to Director of the Library! Congratulations! What other secrets does the library hide?

I chuckled at how the game ended on a possible tease, to hold open the door for more possible puzzle adventures with Jessica the librarian. Will you be on the lookout for more adventures with this gamer librarian?

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