This weekend is the Hide&Seek Weekender at the National Theatre, for which glorious sunshine is forecast. It’s also the debut of a new game I made with programmer Michael Dales, which uses iPhone GPS and old maps of the area for an ambient game about time and place.

Michael’s app is called PlaceWhisper, and he originally described it to me as ‘geocaching without the tupperware’. Using a version of google maps, it allows you to place little bits of text in particular places, which can only be unlocked by going to that place.

My contribution was the content. The area around the National Theatre has a fascinating history, particularly in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. It went from an industrial area of warehouses and factories, to an intense focus for bombing in the second world war, to arts centre, precipitated by the Festival of Britain in 1951. Looking at old maps of the area reveals all kinds of fascinating detail, much of which doesn’t exist any more.

I wrote some stories that work as hidden trails – each instalment gives a clue as to where the next piece can be found. There’s also lots of ambient points to collect like coins in a platformer – some are real history, like the locations of bombs dropping on the worst night of the Blitz, and some are made up – lots of overheard snippets which you might have come across if standing in a spot some 50 or 60 years ago. I’m a sucker for period slang, so I’ve put plenty in.

So come and play!

CC Licensed image by Victius on Flickr