I remember, or I dreamt of a city made up of a thousand temples.
Each one wielded a spire that would rise
above the other buildings like
snare hits in a song.
– The Speaking Clock
Part magical-realist guidebook, part small-town mystery, Dial 55555 is an interactive narrative game told through voicemails, missed connections, hold music, and speaking clocks. By following the messages transmitted through the phone the player will discover The City, its inhabitants and the people trying to get there. The game exists as a self-contained phone handset that players interact with in real space, and the story branches off in multiple directions, concluding in six different endings.
“I picked up the handset. I dialled. I listened… I found myself chasing strangers’ threads through a place I’ve never been, but which felt eerily familiar”
– Abi Palmer (Crip Casino, 2019. Sanatorium, 2020)
Dial 55555 is still growing and therefore it hasn’t yet been housed in the perfect phone object. Currently, the work exists in two forms, Dial 5 BLACK and Dial 5 PINK. Both have essentially the same story inside, but with some small differences at points that reference the object itself. Below are short snippets from both. The audio has been recorded directly from the phone handsets and so is fairly quiet. Please turn up your speakers (and remember to turn them down again after).
Nick Murray is a writer, producer and composer based in London. His work focuses on alternative methods for storytelling through interactivity and play. He is a producer for Now Play This festival (Somerset House). Previous credits include the point and click adventure Walk With Me To Derwent (commissioned by Penned in the Margins), and The Mission, an immersive game theatre piece about settling on Mars (Battersea Arts Centre).