Valletta: Streets of History: Documenting the Process of Developing a Location-Based Game in the area of Maltese History and Culture


  • Krista Bonello Rutter Giappone
  • Daniel Vella
  • Aphrodite Andreou
  • Emmanouela Marla
  • Naomi Cutajar
  • Ioannis Brellas
  • Lara Caruana Montaldo
  • Renata Ntelia


Historical games, game design, detective fiction, Maltese history, AR, educational games, cultural heritage


Playing Maltese History is a project funded by Malta Arts Council involving the research for and development of a mobile AR game about the cultural history of Malta titled Valletta: Streets of History (Bewitched Mitches 2023), officially released in March of this year. As a concept, it was conceived in an effort to bridge the gap between historical research and detective games; or rather to make the profound connections between the two practices explicit. The design of the game attempts to simulate the process of conducting archival research by situating the player in the role of a detective-historian who unearths details from Maltese history and culture, which are not generally foregrounded in the textbooks. The game invites the player to trace these events in actual locations by means of geolocation mechanics and AR elements. It additionally employs more traditional methods of ludic engagement, like puzzles and scoring games, which are thematically adapted to reflect the historical content of the game. In this paper, the development team first analyses the research supporting the project by highlighting the affinities between historical research and detective games. In the second part, we document the process of development from conceptualisation and funding application to research and implementation up to dissemination. In this, we aim to contribute to the theoretical discussion around game design methods and approaches, especially within the context of historical games, as well as providing a practical example of game development and distribution for other interested game designers and academics.





@Conference{digra1912, title ="Valletta: Streets of History: Documenting the Process of Developing a Location-Based Game in the area of Maltese History and Culture", year = "2023", author = "Bonello Rutter Giappone, Krista and Vella, Daniel and Andreou, Aphrodite and Marla, Emmanouela and Cutajar, Naomi and Brellas, Ioannis and Caruana Montaldo, Lara and Ntelia, Renata", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}