[in]visible belfast Literary ARG


[in]visible belfast, is a game in which the main character Ana and game-players are drawn deeper and deeper into the internal labyrinth of Belfast, guided and dared by an anonymous author who leaves clues and orchestrates puzzles throughout the city,

Joined by a young writer named Meri and a helpful artist named Jack, Ana attempts to solve the mystery to discover what lies at the heart of the city of Belfast.

This is a form of alternate reality game (ARG), one that immersively draws players into the multilayered realities of the city, engaging them with written literature, narrated and media events online, and actual performances and live events.

The narrative of [in]visible belfast follows an inner world of Ciaran Carson, an imaginative, spatial history of Belfast, in combining pieces of many works of literature into a multifacted whole.

Great voices of literary history mingle with the voices of characters, all of whom communicate with players in a multitude of ways, by engaging with both the story and the digital and location-based puzzles.

Players will build a dynamic and personal history of Belfast in a new form. In the game, players reveal the invisible city, and in the city, the universe.

[in]visible belfast is a project by Danielle Barrios (English Literature) and Alan Hook (Interactive Media Arts) at the University of Ulster, and is currently supported by that university, as well as Queens University through the Queens Quarter Weekends events programme, the Crescent Arts Centre and its Belfast Book Festival, in collaboration with cross-platform Belfast production company Filmtrip Ltd. The game ran from 12 May to 19 June 2011.

For details, links & videos : http://www.invisiblebelfast.com.

For some other websites that were used during the game :


Danielle Barrios, Game & Event Writer, said,“It will be exciting to learn about Belfast through the eyes of its players, to see what might have been invisible to us as well. This isn’t about telling the story we want to tell, but rather a challenge to draw a narrative from the city itself, from the people who make it what it is. We’re looking forward to being a conduit for what we hope are some very unique literary experiences.”

Alan Hook, Game Designer, University Of Ulster, said “Developing [in]visible belfast has been a great way to work collaboratively with some really amazing practitioners, writers, producers and venues on a really engaging rich and dispersed narrative. This has been a way to work in innovative ways with lots of different media forms to create what will be an amazing 5 weeks of play and story across the city and the Internet.”

Gawain Morrison, Producer - Filmtrip Ltd, said, “As book publishers, newspapers and writers embrace the world of new technologies a number of different ways to consume literature, and to have deeper levels of engagement, literature lovers are being offered a whole new way to engage with books & writers.  It’s great to have such a dedicated & creative team working on this game, and being able to run it as part of Belfast Book Week is just perfect. To be able to use this kind of gameplay to engage a new audience with literature, especially literature from N.Ireland is exciting.”

[in]visible Belfast : The Story

Ana is an outsider in Belfast, a quiet astronomy student recently transplanted from Canada. Searching in the library one day, Ana stumbles across a book that seems misplaced. Its title is The Star Factory. Inside, half the pages have been marked through, and it is filled with strange diagrams and what seem to be clues. Rifling through the odd book, Ana discovers a handwritten note, and beneath it, a map. The note reads:

Dear Ana,

You scan these streets as if they were written pages. It is possible – it is necessary – for the astronomer to graduate from reading the night sky, to seeing it.

In the pleiad, find the multitude; in the city, the universe. And at the heart of the city, you will find a way out.

Good luck to you.

[in]visible belfast Literary ARG