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.