Tiny and mysterious alternate reality game

As part of announcing that the Otherplace event was going to occur in Sorgenfri, I got help from Sveta Suvorina(Unsworn Industries) and Thom Kiraly(Spelkultur i Skåne) to pull off a performance at the Malmö festival. Thom and I had first created a small game idea that would lure people out to the abandoned industrial area.

I wanted the audience to come up on stage to go through tests, and get a custom made adventure based on the results. Thom prepared an epic poem with beautiful and mysterious ramblings, and I put all the pieces together to be able to involve the audience in the activity and enable the adventure creation.

Design process

One of the main purposes of pulling off the performance was to both spread information about the event coming up, but also to give them some incentive to actually go to the old industrial area where it took place.

At the stage, we gave a performance in which I was a british professor who described what happened on stage as I invited participants up on stage. The goal was to measure their ‘playfulness’ to give them a custom made adventure based on the results. I presented us as representatives of the ‘Center for serious play studies’, and tried to lure people on stage to take part in the performance;

“Good evening ladies, gentlemen, and other people. We are here today as representatives for the Center Of Serious Play Studies. With us today we have the russian play professor Sveta Suvorina. We also have play therapist and smile specialist Thom Kiraly. Don’t be shy! Come and test your play abilities! Everyone who passes through our stations will get a custom made adventure! Do we have any volonteers?!”

For the stage, I prepared forms, Rocharch inspired signs, and different items that would be part of the game. Depending on what Sveta and Thom checked on the forms, I would pack the kits with the approperiate content before I handed them over to participants as they had passed the stations. The people who seemed the ‘most playful’ received slightly bigger and more complex adventures, while the others who did not seem as dedicated and were not likely to invest themselves in something bigger got smaller ones. The main challenge was to solve parts of Thoms cryptic poetry in combination with a variety of puzzles based on letters and numbers that I added. The solutions would take them to the next place. The ones with the bigger adventures got a magic item that they had to exchange at a place they had to figure out through solving the cyphers. As they did this, they found their way to a local book shop where I had dropped off more cryptic material. This took them to the place of the Otherplace event at the time when it opened.

My role

– Project manager
– Game designer
– Performance artist