The World’s First Incredible Multi-Sensory-Augmented Game “Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose”

Launching timed to the nearly 500th anniversary on July 19th of the sinking of Henry VIII’s favourite ship, the Mary Rose, in 1545, the Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose app will immerse players globally on their smartphones in the sights, sounds and even smells of life on board the ship almost 500 years ago. This is an unparalleled gaming experience from the smartphone in the palm of your hand. 

Created by Picture This Productions’ revolutionary director Charlotte Mikkelborg, in consultation with the Mary Rose’s Head of Research, Dr. Alex Hildred, the game turns players into Time Detectives, investigating the sinking of the Mary Rose, which claimed the lives of almost all the 500 soldiers and sailors on board. When most people imagine Tudor England, they think of a homogenous society of white Englishmen and women.  Scientific research has shown that approximately a third of the 173 skeletons found in the wreckage were non-English, with many from the Mediterranean and North Africa. A key storytelling goal in the game design was to reflect the true diversity of our world then and now.

Using a mobile phone as a magical spyglass to reveal secrets from the past, you will follow a trail based on your chosen character, collecting and interrogating clues to solve the mystery and complete your mission for the King. In addition to the sights and sounds, you’ll experience the smells of the ship as you’re transported back in time, eavesdropping on conversations of the crew and gathering clues.

This roller-coaster journey through history is a one-of-a-kind experience. The app is available with scent at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and for remote play (without scent) on iOS App Store and Google Play Store here: https://maryrose.org/time-detectives/

Time Detectives was born in June 2020, when the first lockdown was in full swing. The project’s Director Charlotte Mikkelborg was selected as a StoryFutures fellow, to explore her idea of pioneering a new form of multisensory engagement for key cultural heritage sites. Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose is the first in a series of multisensory Augmented Reality games from Picture This Productions, bringing history to life at key cultural heritage sites across the UK and overseas.

Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose was created by Picture This ProductionsDirected by Charlotte MikkelborgProduced by Charlotte Mikkelborg and Siobhan McDonnell; Lead Developer Grigor TodorovConsulting Academic Dr. Hannah Platts (Royal Holloway, University of London)Casting Director: Mandy Steele; 3D asset creation Anakin RyanAudio Producer Jake Lee SavageScent device company: Emanuela Maggioni, Owidgets; in collaboration with the Mary Rose Museum, PortsmouthLead Historian Alex Hildred and Commercial Director Zoe Colbeck.

Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose features the cast of Michael Ansley, James Ashton, Ludovic Jean-Francois, Tim Henley, Chris Robb, Phil Deguara, and Roberto Vivanco.

 Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose 

A first of its kind multisensory augmented reality game aimed at engaging family audiences in diverse stories from history. Launching during the anniversary month of the sinking of Henry VIII’s favourite ship, the Mary Rose (that sank on 19th July in 1545), this first episode of Time Detectives examines the mysterious circumstances surrounding the sinking. Using a mobile phone as a magical spyglass to reveal secrets from the past, you will follow a trail based on your chosen character, collecting and interrogating clues to solve the mystery and complete your mission for the King. In addition to players experiencing the sights and sounds of life on board a Tudor warship and having the chance to eavesdrop on conversations among the crew, those playing at the museum location, will have the option to wear a scent backpack that releases scent at certain key points in the game, to experience the smells of the ship as they’re transported back in time. 

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