The House of Cenci FAQs
What is The House of Cenci, and how does it work?
The House of Cenci is very different to things we have made in the past. It is part performance and part computer game. Below is information about how the performance and game work together. It should also help you know what to expect when you buy a ticket.
How the computer game and performance work together is simple. You play through the computer game, and in playing you uncover zoom links. During ‘show times’ those links will be active and take you to performance content. You follow the links to interact with the performers, which then helps you progress further in the game.
The game will be live on our website from 15th February. Anyone can access the first act of the game, but only ticket holders can access the performance content. As you cannot progress to a later act without watching the current act’s performance content, anyone wishing to experience all four acts must buy tickets for all performance content. Those tickets can be bought here.
What is the game, and how do I play?
The game is a text adventure. Players make choices by clicking or entering text. Players can enjoy the text adventure at their own pace. How long it takes to play through each act of the game will depend on the individual player. It is recommended to set aside a couple of hours to play through each of the game’s four acts.
Because zoom links will only be active during hour-long ‘show times’, players need to play some way through the act before the time they have bought a ticket for. Otherwise, it might take longer than an hour to solve all of an act’s puzzles and find all the zooms. Ideally, before your ticketed time slot, you should solve as many puzzles and explore as much of an act as you can.
What browsers does the game work in?
It should work with most modern browsers - it has been tested most extensively with Safari and Chrome. If you are using an older browser (Netscape Navigator, for example) then good luck! There is a known issue with sound on Microsoft Edge - for this reason we would not recommend playing in that browser.
The game has been optimised to work on desktop and laptop computers, and not on mobile devices like phones and ipads. You will likely experience many problems when using a mobile device, so for that reason it is not recommended.
How does the live performance stuff fit in, and what do I need a ticket for?
You won’t be able to progress beyond the first act of the game without engaging with the live performance element of the experience. That’s the stuff you need tickets for which you can buy here.
As you play through the game, you will find hyperlinks from time to time that open a Zoom call. These zoom calls will be empty outside of the ticketed zoom session times. When a zoom session is active, you will need a password to join it. You get the password when you get a ticket.
There are four zoom links hidden in Act 1, four in Act 2 and two in Act 3. Act 4 takes place entirely within the text adventure game. Each live performance slot only lasts an hour – if you want to experience all the act 1 live content in one sitting you will need to divide your time carefully. You can, however, return the following week if you wish to spend more time with the characters, but you will need to get another ticket to do so.
In order to access the zoom links you will need to first find them in the game, so it’s no good logging onto the game for the first time five minutes before the zoom session you’ve booked for – you won’t know where any of the links are, and you’ll waste a good chunk of the performance hour searching for them. Instead, you should aim to play the game for at least an hour or so in advance of the performance slots starting, and be ready in a location with a zoom link in time for the start to maximise your time with the characters.
Once you have experienced everything that you need to progress to the next act in the live performances, you will receive a password that will enable you to progress to the next act in the text adventure game. You can also use this same password to skip directly to that act of the game if your browser resets it for whatever reason, and you can also use the same password to book for the live performance nights for that act on the booking site.
Can I stop and start the game whenever I want?
The game runs in an internet browser and requires an internet connection to play. The game will record your progress as long as that browser window is open. If you close the tab you’re playing in and re-open, the game will pick up where you were. However, if the browser window is closed then your progress will not be saved. Replaying an act is considerably quicker, since you will already have the answers to puzzles you encounter.
There are checkpoints at the start of each act. When you complete an act, the game will provide you with a password that you can use to skip the act in future. This password will also allow you to book your ticket for the following act’s performance content. These passwords allow you to play through the four acts at different times.
There are no ticketed show times for Act 4, as this act takes place entirely within the game.
The current given show times for The House of Cenci are the only guaranteed times the performance content will be available. Once these performances have passed, we cannot guarantee players access to any acts they have not yet unlocked.
We may have to upload updated versions of the game during the weeks that The House of Cenci is running. We will be doing so on Monday Mornings. Whilst this should not disrupt players’ experiences, we recommend not playing during these upload times.
Does the game have sound?
The House of Cenci has sound content; if you cannot hear sound early in the game (where you will be asked this), you may not have 'auto-play' enabled in your browser settings.For Safari browsers, go to 'preferences', then 'websites', then 'auto-play' and make sure parabolictheatre.com is an approved website for auto-play.
Some of the sound has been recorded binaurally - we recommend headphones for the best experience.
How does booking tickets work?
In booking tickets for a live performance evening, we would prefer it if each person participating has their own ticket. However, if funds are tight and you want to share the experience with someone you live with, then more than one person could in theory share the same device on the same ticket. If, however, you want to explore the live performance evenings on your own (recommended) then people in the same house on different devices will each need their own ticket.
We hope this clarifies some important details about how House of Cenci is designed to work. This whole project has been a huge experiment and to our knowledge there is nothing quite like it out there. If something breaks occasionally, therefore, we ask for your patience and your co-operation in fixing it. If you find something that appears to not be working as intended, please do contact us on the email address below, which can also be used for other queries.