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,”…


Try to master the peculiar lingo of Victorian-era cockney slang in this videogame

Key to acquiring mastery of a foreign language is putting what you learn into practice. The red-faced pressure that overcomes you when trying to speak, say, French to a perplexed native speaker forces your brain to spew out something French-like. Eventually, with enough of this traumatic practice under your belt, your uvular Rs and nasal vowels may form actual French words, enough to converse on such grand topics as your name and where you live. You’ve done it. You learned some French. a playful lyricism to it  This intuitive approach towards mastering a language is your only choice in Victorian Era Linguistics…