The Igfest Bristol Zombie Apocalypse this evening was absolutely amazing! I got caught a meter from the safe base though :( but then you go through UV scanning in an old abandoned church and they divide the survivors from the infected, the infected then get facepaint and gore chucked at you :P Definitely going again next year!

Has anyone else who lives in/ near-ish Bristol (UK) heard of igfest?

It’s this awesome live game festival held around the year (next is 5th-8th of September), and the stuff they do is amazing.

The past few years they’ve held this game called 2.8 hours later (http://igfest.org/28-hours-later), where old, abandoned buildings, empty car parks, and basically the entirety of the city centre are opened up to you at night as you try and get from base to base to try and escape the “infection”, all whilst being chased by zombies. I’ve never done it (you had to be 18), but my parents have and it seems absolutely terrifying, but incredibly fun.

This year, they’re also holding two other main games- CARGO (http://igfest.org/node/184) and Incitement ( http://igfest.org/node/185), but these are during the day so are better for if people want to just visit for the festival then go home.

Personally, I like the idea of Incitement the most because you have to sneak around the city and blend in with the crowd like an assassin, trying not to be caught by the other players. CARGO sounds great too though- you have to work as a team to try and deliver your cargo and “escape the city” by making collections and tricking corrupt policemen, etc.

I know this will probably get 0 notes, but I just thought I’d put this out there for people to see in case they liked the idea- it would be a really cool meetup! Whilst the latter two games are going on, there’s also the main festival with loads of smaller games happening all day, and pretty much all of them are free (the three main games are only £15)! The festival is on for three days, whilst the main games are only on the 8th (I think xD).

Off the Page: The Games People Play

I was invited to be a guest on the BBC Radio 4 show ‘Off the Page’ for the episode  'The Games People Play’.

One of three panellists, the format saw us each write a short article about our personal experiences playing games. 

This is the program description;

George Bernard Shaw reckoned that we don’t stop playing because we’re old, but we grow old because we forget to play. Putting that idea to test are David Goldblatt, author of The Ball is Round; Helen Bentley, one of the organisers of Igfest in Bristol - the Interesting Games Festival; and the man behind The Importance of Being Trivial, Mark Mason. Are we really as playful as we like to think, and what does our choice of game say about us? The presenter is Dominic Arkwright, and the producer Miles Warde.

The Games People Play

First broadcast on : BBC Radio 4, 1:30PM Thu, 7 Jul 2011

This is the transcript of my article;

I have always been inspired by location awareness in play. My child hood Monopoly board boasted hand written streets renamed with local Welsh tourist attractions and favourite haunts - games would be played with each player taking on the personality of their playing piece and everyone commentating on the game in character.

It all changed when my brother got a computer for Christmas and I spent the afternoon in absolute astonishment at how the gun could actually shoot the ducks and without smashing the screen or hurting my sister when I clandestinely aimed it at her back.

This was exciting stuff, this was fun, and this was the future. Many years later I find myself in Bristol, the early evening summer air is crisp and cool, and tonight the soundtrack of the busy night city is interrupted by wails and screams, my heart beats heavily in my chest and my breathing is irregular from running. I hear quick footsteps approaching; taking out my mobile phone I lean against a shop window and make myself look engrossed in a muted telephone conversation. Out of the corner of my eyes I catch the sight of a group of people rushing towards the entrance of a round-about underpass. I follow them, using their noisy entrance as cover for my own presence. Slowing my pace I can see them stop briefly in front of blond woman lying on the floor in semi darkness; she is clutching her boyfriend who is moaning in pain and is crying out for help. They all leave without speaking to her, their pace has the urgency of those being pursued. I go in for a closer look. I know it’s easier to survive the Zombie apocalypse if you collect the coordinates.

I am a player in a game called 2.8 Hours Later, a pervasive street game inspired in part by the mechanic of a game called Journey to the Middle of the Night and run on this occasion as part of a Festival called the Interesting Games Festival in Bristol which uses the city as its playing board and the inhabitants as characters, players and inspiration for games ranging from huge three way coloured water fights to computer game/cardboard mash-ups.

Projects this week

I will be performing in Woodlands on Tuesday afternoon from 1:00, subject to weather conditions.

Then, I’m off to the South to do some visiting and exploration and ultimately to stage three big waterfights over the weekend in Bristol. We will return to regularly scheduled Manhunt-and-performance next week, and I’ll have more information on my Game for Woodlands which will be happening the afternoon of Sunday 5 June, in tandem with a big picnic lunch at Woodlands Community Garden. It’ll be good, promise.

I’ve got my thinking cap on.