The Hand Eye Society and Toronto Public Library have teamed up to create an interactive gaming experience based on Farenheit 451.
by: Natalie Zina Walschots
Despite threats to funding and other obstacles, Toronto Public Library has, especially in recent years, been making a concerted effort to host more exciting and dynamic events, such as its Make Some Noise concert series. Now the library system is branching out even further, partnering up with Jim Munroe, the sci-fi author and Hand Eye Society executive director, to create an interactive gaming experience.
The game, called KTR 451, is an alternate reality game based on this year’s selection for the library’s annual One Book program, Ray Bradbury’s classic science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451. Combining audio drama and scavenger-hunt elements, players join the game by calling a phone number (647-931-1585) and receiving “missions”—in other words, real-world tasks—that they have to complete. KTR 451 uses characters and themes from Bradbury’s novel. Players find themselves cast in the role of resistance fighters in the future, fighting for literary freedom.
Launched on April 2, the game features a new mission every week until April 22nd, when it culminates with a live event at the Toronto Reference Library: the Keep Toronto Reading Book Exchange, moderated by author Misha Glouberman and featuring Ryan Kamstra, Emily Pohl-Weary, and Munroe. Participants are being asked to bring a book that they love and are willing to swap. Those who participated in the alternate reality game in the weeks leading up to the event will be hailed as “heroes of the literary resistance.”
This won’t be the last time the Toronto Public Library and Munroe partner up. Both are already planning to work together for another gaming event around November 16, to celebrate International Games In Libraries Day.
CORRECTION: April 22, 2013, 1:00 PM Because of an editing error, this post originally said, incorrectly, that Jim Munroe was involved in making Sword and Sworcery, an iPhone video game. In fact, Munroe has no association with that game. This post also incorrectly called KTR 451 a production of the Hand Eye Society. In fact, while Munroe is the Hand Eye Society’s executive director, he’s handling KTR 451 as an independent side project. The post has been changed to reflect these things.