The Locker

Collin Kelly

Platform: Installation Game

The Locker is a mixed-reality installation game in which you explore physical artifacts with your hands and reveal memories using a bewitched magnifying glass.

When you receive a note from Jade, a mysterious student at your high school who has recently gone missing, you decide to do some snooping. Inside her locker, you’ll find diary entries to read, physical puzzles to solve, artifacts to investigate, and memories to reveal.


  • Snoop through the locker of a student who has recently gone missing
  • Reveal her memories using a bewitched magnifying glass
  • Solve physical puzzles and clues she left behind

The act of exploration doesn’t just belong on a screen. When we’re immersed in story, we want to smell it, touch it, probe it, engage with it. The Locker empowers players to physically snoop through the personal belongings of the protagonist and solve the puzzles she left behind. With each clue they uncover, players reveal bits of her story through film.

The Locker seeks to seamlessly blend these physical and digital elements, and find a way to do that with an augmented reality lens. To bring out the player’s inner detective, The Locker embedded that lens in a magnifying glass. Players grab the handle and examine objects just as they would have seen in an old Shelby Woo episode.

As players peer through the magnifying glass at an artifact, they reveal the protagonist’s memories of that artifact in the form of a film vignette. The power to see the history of objects was inspired by Octavia Butler’s “Mind of My Mind,” an Afro-Futurist novel about a secret international community of telepaths.

The Locker Gameplay

The Locker was envisioned by an unlikely pair—a maker of tactile experiences and an interactive film designer—who joined forces in a graduate production course taught by Richard Lemarchand at USC. We combined our strengths by weaving puzzle solving, physical exploration, and non-linear storytelling into a cohesive mystery-solving experience.

The Locker began life as a shoebox filled with papers and, following Lemarchand’s iterative playtesting methodology, evolved into a metal school locker filled with personal artifacts. The film sequences began as hastily drawn storyboard cartoons and blossomed into film vignettes produced with a full cast and crew.

Since its completion, The Locker has been featured at Indiecade 2016 and at showcases around campus. As a portable experience contained in a single locker, it just might pop up where you least expect it.


Lishan AZ – Game Designer, Director, Writer
Chao Chen: Game Designer, Editor
Alex Heinrich: Composer
Other Contributing Artists: Jinghui Dong, Patrick Quah

WRDO Film Crew: Christopher Ortega, Jheanelle Brown, Olivia Taylor-Butler, Jazmine Hill, Kelley Kali

Film Cast: Cherita Armstrong, Alexis Snell, Gregory Kennedy, Robert Streit

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