Bar­rett and his team are cur­rent­ly look­ing close­ly at how they can exploit more explic­it game mechan­ics in future pro­duc­tions. Ear­li­er shows like The Masque of the Red Death and Sleep No More exper­i­ment­ed with puz­zle solv­ing and trea­sure hunts, but Bar­rett feels these game-like ele­ments dis­turbed the bal­ance of the show too much. “I think we’ve learned that one dis­ci­pline has to be your lead — so with The Drowned Man, The Masque of the Red Death, it’s the­atre. We start­ed putting game mechan­ics into it, putting a square peg into a round hole, and it didn’t quite fit. So I think if we were to do a project using game mechan­ics now, it would be a game pri­mar­i­ly.””

Punch­drunk wants to make a prop­er game. I enjoyed “Sleep No More”, but I did have to sup­press a lot of gamer/larper reflex­es. Agency is incred­i­bly lim­it­ed. But this also makes it func­tion at scale and for a broad audi­ence. Beyond look­ing and mov­ing, I’m not sure what oth­er “verbs” a par­tic­i­pant could be giv­en before it breaks the expe­ri­ence.

(via At the gates of Tem­ple Stu­dios: Where gam­ing and the­atre col­lide •

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.