LOS ANGELES  — For one night only, Manhattan’s American Museum of Natural History hosted a new video game.  It was a big deal.  Literally.  Sited in the massive dome at the Hayden Planetarium, Space Cruiser was a multiplayer immersive experience.

The game, designed by Ivan Safrin, Stephin Merritt, Greg Fox and Babycastles, put participants into a space ship as they worked to navigate through an asteroid field.  What’s more, it was entirely social, as each player controlled different parts of the ship. Here’s what Carolina Miranda had to say at WNYC:

One person handles thrust, another controls lateral left-to-right movement and yet another handles the roll (placing the ship on its side so that it can squeeze between tight clusters of galactic detritus a la Han Solo). Three other players control “repairs” (namely, pressing a button) after the many inevitable collisions.

It got me thinking about City Fireflies, a massive, Minefield-like game projected onto a building facade. Using the light from their iPhones to trigger sensors, players had to physically dance around the open square to knock out invading creatures. Designed by Medialab-Prado facade, it’s an ongoing project that runs evenings in Madrid.

Let’s hope this trend in architectural-scale video games continues.  With wall projections from the 1980s by Krzysztof Wodiczko, and more recently more whimsical pieces by Graffiti Lab, leading the way, there’s so much great potential for highly social immersive gaming experiences like these.

AX Mina (aka An Xiao Mina) is an author, artist and futures thinker who follows her curiosity. She co-produces Five and Nine, a podcast about magic, work and economic justice. 

One reply on “The Latest Video Game Experience on a Skyscraper Near You”

  1. Large scale projections and interactive works in the public sphere like these are so exciting, thanks for the article. Ben Davis wrote in artinfo that the Occupy Bat signal was the most emblematic work of 2011, http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/751275/a-look-back-at-2011-the-year-of-art-and-protest. I think the projection of Ai Weiwei at the Chinese embessay is also worth noting. Although these are interactive like the works you are writing about.
    We now have the technology to create large scale, interactive, and meaningful artworks that take shape outside of museums and galleries, and it is really exciting to see them gain momentum. I think we will only see more of them.

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