WEEK 7 – Guest Lecture // Pop Up Playground

We had a guest lecture, Ben Mckenzie on Week 7. Ben is an indie game developer that focus more on live games that you play in the real world. His company, Pop Up Playground has created plenty of interesting games such as “The Curse” (my favourite) and #TrueRomansAll. These games were located in the heart of the city where they play a narrative throughout the city streets. The Curse was an interesting study for me because I have always been paranoid with these kind of transmedia storytelling, what if people really believed it? For example, what if the participants took the curse for real because your actors acted their fictional characters well that it feels like it is in our real world? There’s no stopping what the players would think or feel. Cynical but it could cause a downfall in your marketing strategy. The fact that McKenzie still went at it shows that we are storytellers that cannot live up to the standards of every single person. I believe that’s the main gist I’ve gotten from the lecture. We’ve learnt about writing for the niche audience and blockbuster films and I definitely can relate to this because there are only so many that love games like these and are willing to go out of their way to play these that require time, effort and a lot of acting.

Comparing it back to my home country, Malaysia, I believe these games would not be such a hit as our people are a little more reserved. Honestly, I’ve never seen the concert hall full of people dancing and singing out loud like the concerts I’ve been here. I guess that’s why successful campaigns like Dark Knight and TRON’s Flynn Lives were held it during the Comic Con in America – the perfect target audience. Nonetheless, be it in the States or in an Asian country, I believe there’s still a small group that are on a lookout for these sort of games. The interactions and the total immersion would grant their wish of living in another person’s shoes temporarily.

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