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  • Andrew Gerhan

Leila Sales launches story-based interactive game for the lockdown: 'Ada and the Lost Horizon'




Scene 1 available now on Instagram and Twitter

Author Leila Sales has created a new choose-your-own-adventure game specifically designed for the lockdown: Ada and the Lost Horizon. It’s a scavenger hunt within the confines of your own home; a real-world Ready Player One experience; and a community-oriented coronavirus quarantine activity that takes you on an imaginary journey to another world -- while taking you on a physical journey away from your computer screen. While many IRL experiences like museums, theaters, and schools have moved their content online during this time, Leila saw a chance to create something we could all do together offline. The premise: A young woman named Ada wakes to find herself alone. She was supposed to be here with her younger brother, Teddy. She was supposed to be watching out for him. But Teddy has disappeared in the night. Ada must find him, but her only clue is a ransom note. What the ransom note says, where it leads her, and if and how she ever manages to see her brother again… that's completely up to the player. How to play: 1) Read each scene when it's released on Leila's Instagram and Twitter every other day at 4pm ET. The first scene came out today, April 9th. 2) Each scene is accompanied by instructions for a task that can be completed in the safety of your own house. You have 24 hours to complete the task and share it to social media using the hashtag #AdaAndTheLostHorizon. One player’s completion of each task will be selected to determine the course of the rest of the story. 3) Enjoy other players’ completions, invite your friends to play, and find out where Ada’s journey takes her next! Read a complete explanation of the game here. Leila on her inspiration for the game: "A few days into lockdown, I found myself feeling extremely aimless and isolated, even though I had plenty of emails to respond to, worrisome news to consume, and Zoom appointments to attend. It wasn’t like I had nothing to do, but rather that everything I had to do required sitting alone and staring at my computer screen. So I became fixated on figuring out what a truly collaborative and interactive project might look like in a world where none of us can leave our houses. I started out thinking in terms of a scavenger hunt, because I am hugely passionate about scavenger hunts: I spent many years as one of the judges for the world’s largest annual scavenger hunt, and last year edited a book about that experience. But I wanted it to be the sort of scavenger hunt that I love—where you’re making and doing and creating things, not just sitting still and Googling trivia. And then I started thinking about building a kind of “choose your own adventure”-style narrative, because by profession I am an author and a book developer, so I naturally think in a story format. And when I put all that together, I got Ada and the Lost Horizon. There is still a minor screen-based component, because social media is where players will read the story and get their tasks. But all of the tasks themselves are meant to be done away from computers, just using art and construction and experimentation and creative thinking. Think of it as sort of like a Tik Tok dance meme: there’s a basic structure in place for what you're supposed to be doing, but everyone executes their own creative twist on it. Every creator is going to take their own version in a different direction. The difference between Ada and the Lost Horizon and any other meme is that this project goes on day after day, with each day building on the one before, and there’s narrative suspense to keep you coming back." About Leila Sales:

credit: JÖRG MEYER (click here to download high-res photo) Leila Sales is the author of seven middle grade and young adult novels, including This Song Will Save Your Life, Once Was a Time, and the forthcoming The Campaign (Abrams, August 2020). She is also the editor of dozens of award-winning and bestselling books for readers of all ages. She’s based in Austin, Texas, and speaks about books and writing all over the country, and the world.

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