Alternate Reality Games and Literature

Danielle Barrios-O'Neil, Alan Hook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Imagine this: Tomorrow morning, you check your email as you always do, and you see you’ve received a puzzling message from an unfamiliar sender. The email, when you open it, tells you the beginning of a story in which a shy student named Ana, (searching for a book on the Pleiades star cluster at the university library in Belfast), happened to stumble upon a different book instead. Ana flipped through the pages of this book, entitled The Star Factory. It appeared to have been recently altered with strange diagrams and messages in code. Curious, Ana opened it to the back. She found, handwritten on the final page of the book, addressed to her, a note.You have come to the end of the email, which ends with a link. You click on this, and a page loads with the words [in]visible belfast in thick black text. In the middle of the webpage is an embedded secret-surveillance video of a girl (Ana, you presume?) that plays automatically. From behind a bookcase, the video watches Ana in a dark corner of the library; then flashes a view of her from a distance, as she hurries fearfully through the streets of Belfast; then, she is being chased; then she finds herself at a dead end, trapped in an alley, starts to turn to the camera; and then the screen goes dark (InvisibleBelfast 2011). Text below the video welcomes you, if you dare to enter, into a mystery. Register your details and you become a Conspirator. Your purpose will be to help the vulnerable Ana discover what lies at the heart of the city of Belfast, and to protect her from her ominous watcher, the beast stirring in the labyrinth. The last words on the page read simply, “Good luck to you.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUsing Games to Enhance Learning and Teaching: A Beginner's Guide
EditorsNicola Whitton, Alex Moseley
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-89772-3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 17 May 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternate Reality Games and Literature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this