Gamers young and old dream of the possibility of being sucked into the world of their favourite video game. Over the Weekend I witnessed live action renditions of Atari classics Kaboom and Asteroids at the Come Out and Play Festival.
I attended the festival's opening ceremonies Friday night and saw a few games.
First: Humanoid Asteroids. In the basement of the rustic Brooklyn Lyceum in Park Slope the ominous glow of the human asteroids and a triangular spaceship attracted participants like fan boys to a flame war. Though waiting patiently, I eventually got my chance in the cozy cockpit, armed with a foam disc shooter. The players worked in teams of two, with one person controlling the disc gun in the cockpit and the other manoeuvring the ship around "asteroids" - clumps of people wearing light-up leotards. Starting in groups of four, the "asteroids" would break off into groups of two and then singles when shot. They would change direction with each landed hit or when they reached a border of tape on the floor. To add to the authenticity, classic Asteroids sound effects were played, synced to the action.
KaBoom, the Atari 2600 classic also known as one of the most difficult Atari games on earth, also saw a live action remake Friday. This game used real buckets to catch the bombs. Luckily, black balloons substituted for bombs. KaBoom also included classic Atari sound effects. The mad bomber's maniacal laugh added an extra level of immersion the original version lacked.
A third game I saw, OMMRPG (Offline Multiple Mirror Reflect Positioning Game), is an original game designed by professors and students from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea. The closest thing I can compare it to is Ultimate Frisbee with lasers. Two teams faced off with their trusty mirrors and brightly painted gloves attempting to reflect a laser pointer light into their opponents' improvised plastic cup goals. Though the game was chaotic, the players had a blast, jumping up and down and dodging left and right as if in a heated game of basketball, all the while being egged on by a sarcastic announcer perched above.