Past Projects

Secret City: Star of the West

View Story Archive

In December 1860, with South Carolina moving closer to secession, the Buchanan administration commissioned an unarmed commercial vessel to deliver new troops and supplies to Fort Sumter. On January 5th, 1861, a force of 200 men was to board the steamer Star of the West at Governors Island, and set out for Charleston at 5:00 that evening. Earlier that afternoon by telegraph from Washington, that order was reversed. But that order never reached the ship which set sail as planned, initiating events that would lead to the first shots fired in the War of the Rebellion.

The Secret City: Star of the West is a cellphone-based exploration of Governor’s Island’s historic structures from events at the start of the Civil War. The adventure was presented as part of 2011’s Come Out and Play Field Day. Participants followed one of four historical characters on a quest to uncover the mystery of why the afore-mentioned order never went through in a re-imagined tale of sedition, betrayal, and duty.

Visible Cities at GA/GI

Brightwork teamed with Obscure Games to bring a mobile pervasive game to GA/GI, the Pittsburgh Geek Arts/Green Innovators Festival. Players seek out locations  in and around some of Penn Avenue’s abandoned storefronts, using them to pass between parallel universes and visit alternate Pittsburghs, where everything’s the same, but different. What’s abandoned in this universe might be a bustling restaurant or a thriving pet shop in another world, and as players race to make it home, they have a chance to see their community for what is can be, not just what it is.

The Secret City

At the crossroads of urban exploration, game theater and art installation is The Secret City. Explore the historic Braddock Carnegie Library as you never have before. Find clues and solve puzzles with the help of your mobile phone and reveal a story from Pittsburgh’s past lost to time—until now.

Showings of The Secret City are currently closed, but you can listen to the Inside Stories podcast describing the experience at

Comments are closed.