“Uncle Roy All Around You” is an urban game by Blast Theory that has premiered at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in June 2003. It has since been presented at Cornerhouse in Manchester, in collaboration with Digital Summer, and at The Public in West Bromwich as part of Fierce! festival.
The game played online in a virtual city and on the streets of an actual city. Online Players and Street Players collaborate to find Uncle Roy's office before being invited to make a year long commitment to a total stranger.
Street Players use handheld computers to search for Uncle Roy using the map and incoming messages to move through the city. Online Players cruise through a virtual map of the same area, searching for Street Players to help them find a secret destination. Using web cams, audio and text messages players must work together to find Uncle Roy.
Specifically, Street Players buy a ticket and then are shown to the registration desk. They have their photo taken and hand over all their possessions (phone, purse, bag, loose change, etc.). They receive a unique code, which they enter into their handheld computer thus triggering the 60 minute countdown to begin. Having been told they must meet Uncle Roy within 60 minutes, Street Players take their handheld device out onto the streets. Their device shows a map and the names and positions of Online Players. The map can be dragged around to show other areas and can zoom in or out. A button marked: "I'm lost" is always available. At the same time, Online Players are moving around a virtual city which correlates exactly to the real city. They too are sent on a mission to meet Uncle Roy. They can view photos of the real city by going to the corresponding location in the virtual city and clicking on an icon. The Online Players can contact Street Players and help them by giving them clues and directions.
When the Street Player arrives at the Office there is a postcard there with "When can you begin to trust a stranger?" printed on it. Via the handheld device Uncle Roy asks the Street Player to answer the question. At the same time, Online Players are informed that the Street Player is in the office and are invited to join them. Once in the virtual office, they see the Street Player on a live web cam. Then they are asked: "Somewhere in the game there is a stranger who is also answering these questions. Are you willing to make a commitment to that person that you will be available for them if they have a crisis? The commitment will last for 12 months and, in return, they will commit to you for the same period." If they agree, the Online Player is invited to enter their postal address. Once they have completed the questions they 'enter' the office and can see the web cam showing the Street Player.
Then the Street Player gets directions to get in the white limousine that is outside of the office. A man gets into the car and asks the Street Player the same series of questions that the Online Player has answered. If the Street Player agrees to make the commitment to a stranger then they are paired with an Online Player who has also agreed. As the Street Player is dropped off at the ICA, the postcard is posted to an Online Player who has given their address.
You can find more information about “Uncle Roy All Around You” at http://www.blasttheory.co.uk/bt/work_uncleroy.html