I have been visiting the Edinburgh Fringe these last few days along with many thousands of other visitors and have taken in a good number of shows. I talk about a few others of them here. Such is the variety of shows that even gaming – both computer, TV based and board game have inspired shows and events. I heard of but did not get a chance to see one inspired by the Knightmare TV series
You awake to find yourself in a dark room!
Last night I managed to attend The Dark Room. Remember those text based adventure games from the 1980′s or early 1990′s that for many of us were our first experience of Computer gaming? Well Australian comedian, John Robertson has devised a live action version in which he plays a “floating head” who controls the game. Audience members get to choose which way to go and what to do. Naturally most choices lead to death in a variety of entertaining ways. Indeed in a somewhat tongue in cheek approach many options were bizarre -but inspired by the incredibly frustrating options and responses these games did contain.
It was clear that many in the audience were veterans of the game but many like my family were new to the experience and feeling their way, and trying to avoid being called on to play! That said providing you approached the game as a bit of fun you had a good time although it was clear that a few in the Saturday night Edinburgh crowd had a beer or five too many to appreciate it but Robertson did not seem phased by this and had witty come backs to most situations that arose. Now the game seemed impossible to win but we were assured that you CAN win the game which is available online for those wanting to try but for my money the fun here is to play the game live, see how people react to the choices they have and how the floating head reacts in turn to those choices.
Usually with sarcasm or DEATH!
I have found a You-Tube clip which includes some footage of the game in play.
How board games can change your life and save the world! was the tag line for Always be rolling This was a comedy show all about board games and the experiences we have playing them – the good and bad. So we were taken through those terrible games that people played as kids, or play at Christmas like the dreaded Monopoly and on to the immeasurably better games like Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne. Along the way we played a live action version of buckaroo in which the comedian, James Cook was the donkey and two audience members including, ahem, me were invited forward to play with full size version of the game pieces. Alas hanging the spade on a finger was my undoing.
So what you get is a extremely fun, accessible look at board games including some audience participation and some very funny examinations of board game box covers in which recurring themes come out.
Now this is a great 60 minutes if you are interesting in board games but even if you are not is a great little comedy act. Take the family (probably 10+’s) or go yourself for a very different Free Fringe Event.
I should put my hand up and admit that I liked this show even more because UK Games Expo gets a mention – James himself coming 6th in our Carcassonne tournament this May. But marketing thoughts aside Always be Rolling is a recommended experience.