13 May 2011

Get Ready for Igfest 2011

Hot on the heels of this year’s Mayfest comes Igfest - the interesting games festival. So if you like the more playful aspects of contemporary theatre then Igfest might be for you. Igfest is festival of interesting games you can play in the street on the 28th and 29th May 2011.

Street/pervasive games as a form have been quietly growing in popularity and complexity over the past few years. The possibilities offered by these kind of fully interactive performances is clear to anyone who has been involved in one. However, these are experiences and as such are sometimes hard to be understood out of context. That's what the festival is about. Letting people play these new kinds of games, helping the form to grow and having fun while we're at it.

There are more than 30 games at this year’s Igfest and highlights include games from Coney, Tinned Fingers and Greg Trefry. There will be games by artists that are designed to challenge you physically like Circle Rules football and the Institute of Aesthletics famed Wiffle Hurling. They will have games that tax you mentally like Tom Abba’s the Village and games that are just plain stupid and joyous like Catherine Herdlick’s Neo Cow Girl Faux Rodeo.

The real headline game at this year’s festival though is 2.8 Hours Later, a citywide zombie chase game. The experience and structure of this game is not unlike a piece of promenade theatre but one in which the audience is fully immersed and massively personally motivated. Igfest employed writer Hazel Grian to develop this game with them for its premier last year. A game about social collapse and voracious greed seemed a perfect commentary on a society sliding into capitalist melt down.

The audience (the players) are tasked with finding “other survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse”. They are then set loose in a city haunted by the spectre of the undead. There are eight locations for players to find throughout the game. Each of these delivers them into a micro-performance propelling them back out in to the city. With these kind of games, the city really comes alive in the most cinematic way. Players find themselves caught up in the action and their suspension of disbelief is surprising.
Igfest’s aim with these large scale games is not to structure a narrative and tell it in chunks. They try to create a situation where players are able to read scenes like cues “Oh, so this has just happened so now we would have to do this”. Zombie stories are great for doing this because they have a large cannon of well known work. Players respond to this with incredible journeys of imagination for which the game is just a cradle.

All these games will be expanding in to our city streets and repurposing them for play. Changing players’ perspectives of the places they go and the people they encounter there. Igfest is a festival of interesting games you play in the street. See you there!

1 comment:

  1. Illustration and lovely presentation of this blog makes me curious for Igfest 2011. Wish for more fun there.

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