"To call it breathtaking would be an understatement." — Western Morning News Review
"The whole experience was very well put together by the organisers. The theatrical heritage of Plymouth really shone through and the historical buildings were perfect backdrops for the game." — @robjglover
"It was a great version of Punchdrunk for the South West." — Player
You join the hunt. You take the risks. You become the hero.
Resurgam: The Lost Pearl Of Plymouth is an alternate reality game that took place in Plymouth in autumn 2013. It combined interactive history, live performance, physical gaming, mobile and digital technology, as more than 400 players embarked on a quest to uncover the location of the mysterious Pearl of Plymouth and escape capture by sea monsters in a race against time across the city.
A Rip-roaring Tale
Legend has it that an Atlantean pearl, found by Sir Francis Drake on his circumnavigation and entrusted to the city of Plymouth for safekeeping, holds the balance between land and sea.
Protected through the generations by the Order of the Pearl—whose members included Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Nancy Astor, Priscilla Lydia Sellon and Scott of the Antarctic—the pearl was lost in the turmoil of World War II when Plymouth was devastated by The Blitz. With the pearl lost, the balance between land and sea was disrupted; sea monsters now roam the city as the ocean begins to reclaim the land.
The fate of Plymouth lies in the hands of players who must use their smartphone ‘quest kit’—the game’s mobile app—to navigate the city, raise the ghosts of those long lost heroes, and solve puzzles and riddles to find the pearl.
The game began online a couple of months before the live event, with Dr Cara Jones, a marine scientist based at Plymouth University, whose ancestors were connected to the history of the pearl. Her blog and social media profiles engaged thousands of players across the world, some of whom emailed her from countries including Germany and Canada with their own ideas on where the pearl was hidden.
There was also a launch event at Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery where players first met Cara and were introduced to a storyworld which blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality.
The app, for Android and iPhone, featured a unique decoder for translating Atlantean symbols. At key locations across the city, members of the Order Of The Pearl would enlist players help to complete physical challenges, in turn revealing a series of these symbols. Decoding the symbols correctly would unlock the next objective on a map, and reveal some of the history around the character that had helped them.
The game event took place over three hours as players travelled the city in teams working out strategies to escape sea monsters and unlock characters and locations. Their experience culminated in arriving at an epic finale performance set aboard a ghost ship.
They joined the hunt, took the risks, and became the heroes of the story, their own actions having a direct impact on how the game ended.
Press Coverage and Credits
The game attracted coverage on BBC news and radio, in local and regional newspapers, and on gaming blogs.
Resurgam was written by Hannah Wood, created by i-DAT, Mutant Labs and Story Juice, in collaboration with Rogue Theatre, and funded by Plymouth University and Arts Council, England.