sleep no more

Are videogames ruining Sleep No More?

She should have died hereafter; There would have been a time for such a word. — To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury Signifying nothing. -Macbeth Nestled in the deep dark corners of Chelsea,…


Practice your improv in this videogame theater

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Commedia dell’Arte (PC, Mac) A COLLABORATION BETWEEN STUDENTS AT THE ENJMIN AND EMCA SCHOOLS Surprisingly, improv is about more than Amy Poehler making fart jokes. At the heart of great improv is a sense of play. Though it’s controlled and focused, emergent play defines improv as much as it defines games like The Sims, where players (or actors) are encouraged to go to town within the confines of a defined possibility space. Commedia dell’Arte: Masks, Masters and Servants marries the play of improv with the play of videogames into…


Cheongsam to merge “virtual theatre” and videogames

Dubbed “virtual theatre” by its creators, Cheongsam is a game about chance encounters and the types of conversations that stretch until 3AM. It’s also about the role players have in creating a game’s story. Cast as a young man named Michael, you spend an evening getting to know an AI-controlled acquaintance named Maggie. There’s no set goal to your encounter with her, no achievements to earn or pre-written story branches to unlock. Rather, Maggie acts as a scene partner, and will respond to your body language and facial expressions in subtle ways, such as slightly and mysteriously glancing off into…

Fitz Packerton

Fitz Packerton turns packing your bags into a theatrical videogame

The first note of suspicion arises in two boxes sat next to each other on a desk. The label on these boxes is blurred beyond detail by the low-resolution—it’s possible to make out that it depicts a cylindrical instrument, white and red in color. I told myself it must be batteries for the nearby handheld radios. But I think I knew it was shotgun shells. /// “You hold your gun up when in waist-high water. You push away tall grass. Button just for Adrian Brody voicing how much ammo you have left.” These are a few of the features of…


The epic theater of videogames

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (PC, Mac) By Crows Crows Crows Davey Wreden’s follow-up to his videogame satire The Stanley Parable earlier this year, The Beginner’s Guide, was an introspective game essay on expression and creativity through games. It was solemn in tone and seemed to speak specifically to the aching hearts of game creators. The other person behind The Stanley Parable, William Pugh found a new team, called it Crows Crows Crows, and together they’ve put together a response…


A play about male clinical depression is now also an interactive story

An Interview is not all black—little pops of colour occasionally surface—but you could be forgiven for thinking that you’ve fallen into a world of blackness. And so you have. An Interview is Manos Agianniotakis’ interactive adaptation of Bryony Kimmings and Tim Grayburn’s play “Fake It ‘Til You Make It.” The pair’s performances grapple with the issue of clinical depression, particularly as it affects men. Here’s how they describe the show: Expect home made music, stupid dancing, onstage arguments, real life stories, tears and truths in this wickedly heartwarming and funny celebration of the wonders and pitfalls of the human brain. Consequently,…


Magic Flute reimagines the famous opera as an urban puzzle adventure

I can name few games based on renowned European operas, and even fewer based on famous Japanese adaptations of classic European operas. In fact, only Magic Flute fits the bill. Created by LabLike, Magic Flute is a tile-based puzzle game for iOS set in the world of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute—as performed on-stage in a rendition created by the acclaimed Japanese stage director Amon Miyamoto. Miyamoto reimagines Mozart’s fantastical musical adventure as an urban tale, using moody city sets combined with grand, classical architecture to create a mystical mash-up of worlds. The actual opera itself uses video projections to generate…


A videogame adaptation of Hamlet has been turned back into a stage show

To be, or not to be—that is a rhetorical question, and it gets at the challenges facing anyone who wishes to convert Shakespeare’s Hamlet into a videogame. Games are about the ways user choices can shape a narrative and Hamlet—well, let’s just say he prefers to keep his own counsel.  Every level must be conquered until Hamlet’s father’s death has been avenged!  Nevertheless, Simon Peacock, the Voice and Motion Capture Director of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, recently took on the challenge of converting Hamlet into a videogame, and then converting that game back into a play. This is more than a theatrical game…


An interactive theatre show brings out the capitalist monsters in most of us

Very few people get out of bed and plan to run a horrible sweatshop, but here they are, a collection of young, presumably liberal adults, doing just that. They are participants in Zoe Svendsen’s interactive play, World Factory, at London’s Young Vic Theatre. Audience members form teams. They sit in clusters, figuring out how to deal with problems at their Chinese clothing factory. These problems touch on a variety of issues—worker conditions, dealings with clients and suppliers—but, insofar as we’re talking about capitalism here, everything comes down to the bottom line.  “Because the choices are binary they are rarely palatable,”…