Kilroy Was Never Here is an augmented reality mystery game which uses design to influence urban exploration. It uses storytelling to enhance engagement with an environment, and generates an immersive experience for the user. It invokes a variety of methodologies, most notably discovery, transformation, and engagement. An alternate reality is generated through colored filters, motion graphics, and moving typography which both informs the user of the story and guides them through their environment. Discovery encompasses both clues and new locations for the user to visit as they unravel the mystery of the disappearance of the main character, Kilroy. Clues transform the space the user is viewing, and offer them a new understanding of their surroundings, considering how certain spaces may take on new nuances with the occurrence of meaningful events. There are three different clue types: locks, keys and freebies. Keys are clues which become integral to unlocking further gameplay when paired with the appropriate lock clues. Lock clues will then disseminate information to the user about the plot, and often will point the user to one or more new locations to investigate. Freebies are clues which do not require any input from the user beyond viewing the space through the lens of the application. The immersive aspects of the gameplay further dramatize the storyline by bringing narrative elements closer to the user’s reality.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Augmented reality--Design; Mystery games--Design; Urban exploration
Visual Communication Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Design (CAD)
Baum, Madeleine, "Kilroy Was Never Here: An AR Mystery Game" (2023). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus