Augmented Reality game turns Valletta visitors into detectives

Maltese cultural heritage game launched
Valletta: Streets of History helps the player assume the role of detective.

A new digital game that uses augmented reality to immerse visitors into the city’s history and culture was officially released this week.

Valletta: Streets of History is an augmented reality (AR) location-based mobile game, in which the player assumes the role of a detective-historian and explores Maltese history and culture by  physically visiting different places in Valletta.

In each location, the player can unlock archival entries and follow a blend of fictional and historical clues pertaining to Malta’s rich past to unravel three different storylines inspired by personal microhistories.

“Our game invites players to reimagine familiar and contemporary spaces with a historical lens,” said creative director Renata Ntelia.

The gameplay is enhanced by thematically appropriate mini-games and AR elements. It resides in the convergence between recreational and educational game design, and reflects research interests in the relations between games, history, and urban space and place. The stories that players follow were developed on a foundation of archival research, properly adapted into a playful experience.

The game will be of particular interest to history enthusiasts, educators looking for alternative and innovative ways to introduce their students to history, urban explorers looking to take a different perspective upon Valletta’s well-trodden streets, and tourists eager to explore Maltese history and culture off the beaten track.

“The game explores ways of engaging with marginalised voices from the archives, and opening up Maltese history to greater public participation,” stated lead researcher, Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone.

Valletta: Streets of History was developed by a team of academics and alumni from the Institute of Digital Games and the Department of English, and was funded by Arts Council Malta. It is available for download on Google Play and the App Store.

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