I have written previously about how live games are becoming more and more popular as people try and escape the screen and venture into the real world.
Over the last 2 months a group of people have been tasked with protecting Melbourne from the uprising of Unity. This is not a secret police force or a government agency. This is everyday people working together to stop a malevolent Artificial intelligence from potentially ending life as we know it.
Sounds like a movie but this is just the plot line of the newest Live Game from Popup Playground ‘Outside the Cloud’.
Popup Playground are a Melbourne based company who specialize in live action games. Founded by a collection of actors, writers, directors and comedians in 2011 they have since gone on to run numerous live games often pairing up with other large citywide organisations. The group have worked at White Night, PAX games festival and most recently partnered with Vic health.
Outside the Cloud was a large scale ambitious project that utilized a complex branching story, real world challenges, live events and web based content over a period of 2 months. The story was very complex but if you take a bit of Bladerunner, a piece of The Matrix and throw in some Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy you get something that’s close the story.
Each week we were sent cryptic emails containing a GPS location somewhere in Melbourne. Once at the location we then had to find a code hidden in the real world and enter this into an app. If correct this then opened up numerous challenges at that location. A favorite each week was finding a location based off of a photo and a small clue. With each correct challenge completed we were given more story pieces in the form of diaries, videos and redacted emails.
At the end of each week we had to make a decision based off of the evidence and cast a vote as to which faction we wanted to support, this then changed the narrative for the following week.
Half way through the game there was a live meet up where all of the players met and discussed the story and their theories, unfortunately I was unable to attend this part of the game but I hear it ended with the actors from the videos appearing and making some huge changes to the story. The good guys became bad and the bad guys became ambiguous. It had big ramifications for the next month.
I was able to attend the meet up at the end of the game and I can say the actors were excellent. It was all improvised and the 4 characters stayed to the story even when the players started asking some very complex questions. A highlight here was when the actor who was playing a cold computerized artificial intelligence was asked to channel a different character. The actress completely changed her persona and I got the impression this was entirely unscripted. I was very impressed with the depth of the story and the immersion.
The story has now concluded and although the final decision I personally made was not in the majority I still thoroughly enjoyed the resolution to one of the longest live games I have ever played.
Popup playground are running another live event for the comedy festival in the next few weeks and I will definitely be attending and shouting from the rooftops to anyone that will listen that ‘Live games Live’ in Melbourne.
Upcoming Live Games Event
From Popup Playgrounds website
Made especially for the Comedy Festival, and featuring local guest comedians as well as a cast of experienced improvisers, Where in Melbourne is Carmen (or Diego)? will have you solving clues, completing challenges and visiting iconic Melbourne CBD locations as you try to find Carmen (or Diego) over the course of an hour.
Where in Melbourne is Carmen (or Diego)? will run from April 1 to 23 as part of the 2017 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Bookings are now available