An online adventure game helping young people reflect on and build confidence in their science skills

Despite some fantastic projects that clearly show otherwise, far too many young people still think science is for boffins and bears no relation to their day to day life. Since 2015, Science Museum Group has been researching ‘science capital’, a concept that is transforming their approach to STEM engagement.

Science Museum Group

Web, tablet, mobile
Branching narrative

Creative Director
(Thought Den)

When the power cuts out, players have nothing but a torch, their quick wit and a cast of curious characters to find the real cause of Total Darkness.

Built in HTML5 and available for free online, the game rewards players for their curiosity, communication and creative problem-solving, all of which are crucial in science practice. Instead of a traditional approach focused on biology, physics or chemistry concepts, Total Darkness encourages players to reflect on skills they might take for granted.

Explore a town plunged into darkness

Over a six-month production period, more than 20 prototypes were produced and over 100 children were involved with playtesting to help refine the desired experience and learning outcomes.

During the first three months since launch in Summer 2018, the game was played 37,000 times, for an average of more than 10 minutes per session.

“Ours was a particularly challenging brief and Thought Den responded with intelligence and managed the project with sensitivity. An absolute pleasure.”

Josh BlairScience Museum Group