Last night and last night only, the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium here in New York hosted independent gaming collective Babycastles for an evening of gaming and science. The sold out event, entitled Cosmic Cocktails and Space Arcade, included access to the exhibit, Beyond Planet Earth, a handful of new quirky games, and a musical performance from One Ring Zero.
Most exciting of the attractions was Space Cruise, a collaborative multiplayer game which had players working together to man a spacecraft. The best part? You play in 360 degrees: the game functions through the 6-camera system unique to projectors in planetariums.
Created by artist and game developer Ivan Safrin, Space Cruise is truly an experience. As your ship glides through various levels, a HAL-like agent (voiced by Stephen Merritt of the Magnetic Fields) chimes in over a heavy beat, antagonizing the team of players. The goal is simply to reach a blur of white light hidden behind towering asteroids, and no two levels are alike. But what is most powerful is the first person view that literally surrounds you.
Here’s to hoping for more gaming in museums!
– Lyndsey Edelman