It’s always worth the time to step into history.
Set on July 19th, 1545, Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose is a new game on iPhone and Android that transports the viewer into history to investigate the sinking of the titular ship. Claiming the lives of almost 500 crew and soldiers, the disaster has lived in infamy and its now your responsibility to figure out what really happened that fateful day!
As technology improves, we continue to move in the direction of increased VR and AR technology and Mary Rose seems to go the extra mile. Directed by Charlotte Mikkelborg in consultation with Mary Rose’s head of research, Dr. Alex Hildred, Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose does it’s very best to bring history to life. Including character actors, interactive scenes and a complex mystery, Mary Rose wants you to feel as though you are in the midst of the action. With incredible research and detail, the app immerses the player into the story, allowing them to investigate potential problems, inspect suspicious items and even listen in on private conversations that may unravel deeper issues onboard. Using AR technology, Mary Rose brings all of this to life wherever you play with solid animation and video. (However, while the app can be used anywhere effectively, one can’t help but be intrigued by the potential gameplay that’s available onsite in Portsmouth’s Mary Rose Museum. Here, the app not only incorporates better video storytelling, they even use scent to help bring it to life.)
It’s also interesting that the adventure can be viewed from two different perspectives. Offering us two primary characters aboard the Mary Rose, Mikkelborg allows history to unravel from multiple perspectives. Whether it’s a young crewmate who knows the secrets of the galley or an inexperienced captain, both viewpoints offer different sides to the tragic events before they unravel. As a result, the player has the opportunity to understand the story from multiple angles that affect their report.
What’s more, in doing so, Mary Rose also acknowledges that history is shaped from more than one perspective. No matter what your role on the ship may be, every person involved in the tragedy of the Mary Rose viewed it through a different lens. Whereas so much of history is told from ‘the winners’, Mary Rose allows other voices to speak up and offer their perspective on history. (Incidentally, the game also highlights the true diversity of Tudor England. Believed to be primarily white Englishmen and women at the time, almost 173 of the skeletons in the wreckage were found to be non-English, proving the flaws within our own understanding of the time.)
Even though the game is exceptionally well orchestrated and researched, it may seem shorter than expected. Nevertheless, Mary Rose still feels worth the price of the trip back in time. In fact, Mikkelborg and her team are developing future adventures for the Time Detectives app that plan to unravel an ever-unfolding tapestry of mysteries. By not limiting themselves to one particular era, there are an infinite number of murders and mayhem that we may yet be allowed to step into.
As for me, I can’t wait to make the time for more adventures.
Time Detectives: The Mystery of the Mary Rose is available in iPhone and Android app stores.