Dark Secrets of Dartmouth

virtual reality game


The Story | Research

The Story

Go on a virtual reality tour around the campus of Dartmouth College to learn about the funny, dark, and weird things about Dartmouth that the administration doesn’t want you to know—from book burning and “horning” to grave robbing and murder!

Players use a virtual reality headset, headphones, and a pair of controllers to explore and interact with a virtual version of campus while collecting mementos of the strange stories they discover.

This game was originally created as an augmented reality app for smartphones to be played while walking around Dartmouth’s real campus.


Dark Secrets was designed to combat bias against women in STEM fields by encoding positive messages related to the experience of women in STEM into the stories presented in the game. Research shows that exposure to relatable role model scientists can have profound effects on aspiring scientists from underrepresented groups. Many of the stories that appear in Dark Secrets feature real women scientist role models from Dartmouth’s history, and how they overcame the challenges that they faced.

Preliminary study results show that Dark Secrets inspired STEM students and helped them believe that they could succeed in their science and engineering courses.

This significance of this project is in its unique approach to combating bias in STEM, capturing student interest by using new technology and introducing them to little known facts and traditions from campus history while mixing in STEM content. This groundbreaking approach demonstrates that “social currency” can craft influential role models and create local heroes.