Hive Mechanic

Video: Mural hunt game (SMS clues, photographs, etc.)

In this short 3-minute video, I demo and analyze the game Mural, Mural on the Wall, which launched in 2020 for DC’s longest-running street festival: Adams Morgan Day.

Some of my key points in the video:

  1. Start with a voice call (no fancy apps required). Unlike other games played on your phone and at no cost to the player, Mural Mural starts with just a simple phone call or text and doesn’t require any special apps or devices. By calling into the game, the player gets to hear the voice of a local resident named Margaux. Using her personality, the game guides its players all around Adams Morgan. 
  2. Each Location is a Clue. Using multimedia such as texts, videos, and photos, Mural Mural interacts with its players by giving hints that lead to each location. Once there, the player can confirm that they’ve arrived by correctly answering the clue. No worries if you get a little lost though! With just one text, the game can let an astray player know exactly where they need to go next so they can continue on with the game.
  3. Trivia Reveals the Hidden Story. Once the player has reached the destinations, Mural Mural treats them with a few facts about the mural followed by one or two trivia questions designed to help them learn more. Regardless of whether or not the player gets the answer right though, the game will always make sure they know the correct answer in the end. 
  4. The Fun Spills Over into Social Media. Mural Mural helps its developers generate images for social media by asking its players to send in optional photos throughout the game showing the fun that they’re having. Whether it’s asking the player for input on a question or simply asking for a fun photo, the game can easily send these player interactions back to the developers where they can use them in social media posts, videos, and more.

This post was contributed by Meagan Couture, a graduate student at American University’s Game Lab and member of the The Playful City Lab.