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  • Writer's pictureBasak Gizem Yasadur

Diplomatic Ways of Art: Napoli National Archeological Museum

Analyzing Cultural Diplomacy is quite a thrill for me. The creative measures that are taken to improve the reputation of the country can tell a lot about its other internal and external policies to those who can read through it.


Cultural Diplomacy is naturally highly engaged with fine arts, authentic architecture, archeological excavations, and qualified museums in order to attract the attention of foreign audiences. On the other hand, it is a remarkable sign amongst countries that show they are financially capable of covering such luxurious expenses.

How else can you show you've reached the ceiling level in Maslow's hierarchy of needs without saying it?


So, speaking from my own experience, I truly fell in love when I started to play the video game Father and Son generated and distributed by the National Archeological Museum of Napoli (MANN). This is the first video game produced by a museum. [1]


The very main reason behind the creation of the game is to attract new visitors to the MANN as well as open the museums to new art forms. The director of MANN, Paolo Giulierini is the brilliant mind who came up with this innovative idea. With Fabio Viola's hand made drawings and the fascinating music composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski, the game turns into a perfect work of art.

But what is up with the 'Father and Son' that makes me write about?

The game is an interactive adventure where we play as a character named Michael. Following the death of his father, who was away from Michael and his mother for the sake of archeology and worked at MANN, Michael travels to Napoli to start the game. As players, we make choices that affect the outcome of the game, leading to a variety of different endings.


Father and Son promote modern-day Napoli as well as the 3 core exhibitions namely Pompeii, Farnese, and Egyptian. The last part of the game is locked. To open, you need to go to MANN and turn on your GPS. A pretty genius idea to gain new visitors, isn’t it?


I think the game was planned gradually with the awareness of the Cultural Diplomacy effect it could possibly create. While this deepens the content much more, it also makes the game more relatable.


Let's break down some of the contents placed in the game piece by piece.

  • Creating a Connection

When we control Michael's interactions with other characters in the game, it creates a strong connection between us and Michael without us even realizing it. Michael's actions and dialogues reflect our own choices, making it feel like a personal experience.

Furthermore, the mini-stories included in the game are carefully selected to evoke emotional responses, which further strengthens our bond with the game.

This personalization phase is an important step that greatly increases the players' sympathy for Napoli and our potential to visit the museum in the future. The important elements targeted in Public/Cultural diplomacy are satisfied thanks to this bond created.


  • Promotion of Napoli

The game takes us on a journey through various locations, including Michael's time travels, the National Archeological Museum of Napoli, the streets of modern-day Napoli, peaceful Vespa rides, the Plebiscito Square, the Royal Palace, Pompeii, and Egypt. These locations are thoughtfully curated to introduce us to the main exhibitions at the museum and the beautiful city of Napoli.

  • Recreation of the Reputation

Countries and cities are often recognized for their unique characteristics, which can be powerful tools for both public and state-level marketing efforts.  However, it's important to note that these aren't always positive, and sometimes can overshadow other aspects of a location's beauty and appeal.

These negative situations can happen for every location which can lead a crisis situation in terms of reputation. It is up to the residents of this location, the institutions located here, and the state to recreate the reputation.

We all know that Italy is a beautiful country with a lot to offer. However, as in every touristic location that attracts intense foreigner attention, there may be some security problems for tourists in Italy. The "Attenzione Pickpocket" meme which was widely used on TikTok and Instagram Reels this summer, underlined the impression that some parts of Italy can be unsafe. Although the video takes place in Venice, we also hear such unpleasant situations from Napoli.

Or, in the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love' starring Julia Roberts, the impression is given that Napoli is a city with only gastronomic value. The whole city is reduced to just one highlight.


I believe that the Father and Son team targeted this situation and shaped the dialogues in today's Napoli accordingly. In the game, the characters explain how important Napoli is in terms of human history, the beauty of the city, and how unique the works of the museum are. The meticulously curated dialogues aim to inform us, players.


  • The Secret Episode

Although it is technically possible to finish the game, it has been revealed that an extra chapter can be unlocked by visiting MANN. This hidden section has been included as a reward for players that will visit MANN.

Similar to how countries invite foreign visitors to their museums and archaeological sites through exchange programs, MANN extends an open invitation to players to come and visit.


"Father and Son" is a remarkable illustration of the creativity that can be demonstrated in the realm of Cultural Diplomacy. This video game introduces players to the city's history, its museums, and various other attractions, while also encouraging them to visit in person.

Father and Son not only serves Public/Cultural Diplomacy, but also exemplifies the bridge museums can build between new art forms.


MANN hits several birds with one stone!

Download Father and Son 1 for App Store:


[1] ‘Father and Son’: The Hit Time Travel Video Game Produced by a Museum in Naples

[2] Father and Son – The Game

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