Science Museum announces first live gaming showdown in collaborative Player Festival

By Culture24 Reporter | 23 August 2011
A photo of a woman balancing on one leg under a blue spotlight inside a museum
© Tine Bech
Festival: Player Festival, Science Museum, London, September 28 – October 2 2011

The Science Museum’s first ever foray into live gaming is more than your usual scrummage for a joystick.

Making the most of the London powerhouse’s considerable clout when it comes to experimental commissioning, bespoke opportunities include the chance to indulge in a text adventure around the brain, pursue your new lover on a huge amorous calculator and, in a twist which might just give Scalextric a run for its money, drive a “pimped-up” sewing machine around a paper take on Silverstone.

Interactive pong (projected onto the floor and played with heat sensors) and giant robots arrowing bullets at your skull can surely only ramp up the adrenaline.

“It taps into modern and nostalgic gaming culture with a real-life twist,” says Stuart Umbo, the museum’s Content Developer who will be overseeing a meeting of tech minds between curators, gamers and visitors.

“We have activities to capture the imagination of those who are up for an adventure and the unexpected. Players can’t hide behind a console in these real world games.”

There are sporting and theatrical elements in missions such as Custom Avatar, James Houston’s award-winning swizz where you usher a human avatar through the museum space, Ghostbusters-style, via a seemingly run-of-the-mill arcade game.

The Interplanetary Postbox reimagines communications with the help of magnets and cogs, and Take me to your Scientists will see the museum closed to all but 100 players in a ticketed rumble running until the clock strikes midnight.

“We are working with artists with real flair, from performance, digital and visual arts backgrounds,” promises Angie Bual, of co-organisers Trigger. “The festival allows visitors to bring new ideas to gameplay, be creative and grab the attention of the wider gaming community. This diverse range of immersive and playful experiences will really allow people to socialise during their visit.”

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