The Games

Enter a History Space and your movements will unlock games based on history, geography and myth.


In presenting new visual objects on which the user can connect to the histories of the site, the approach to the design connects the activities of the viewer to the wider activities implicated in the production of content. Requiring the visitor to physically engage with the physical space in order to understand the history of the site is at the core of the project. Using the HistorySpace app, the visitor is essentially acting out stories to understand what is would have been like to live at Downhill during the life and times of Bishop Hervey.

How to play

The geographical area around the site has been ‘zoned’ with specific content geo-tagged to specific places within the site. The different zones include:

  • Bishop’s Gate
  • Mausoleum
  • Lion’s Gate
  • Dovecote
  • Downhill Place
  • Mussenden Temple
  • Black Glen
  • Belevedere

In order to access the digital content that has been geo-tagged in each of the zones, the user is prompted to open the ‘doorways’ to the content. Using the gesture recognition features of the mobile phone, a doorway is opened to allow the user to access to specific items of digital content relevant to the zone that they are present in. The interface between the physical and the digital essentially becomes a designated gateway that has to be physically opened before it can be entered.

Once the user has ‘entered’ the zone, the device activates augmented reality methods, prompting the user to scan the landscape through the camera view of their mobile handset to ‘see’ where and what can be accessed relevant to that location.

This content includes an imaginative set of games that help the visitor to understand the importance and relevance of certain features and histories connected to the site. For example, standing at the edge of the lake, the visitor can use their phone to make the gesture of casting a line. As they reel in a fish, they unlock a story about why the lake is there, why it was stocked and what it was like to live at Downhill in years gone by.

A series of imaginative gesture-controlled games give further insight the Earl Bishop’s colourful character. These include: the Midnight Philanderer, Racing the Bishops’ Clergymen, Fishing in the Black Glen Lough and Playing the Downhill Harp.