Gaming

Gamecity 8 – Genesis of Cr0n

The Genesis of Cr0n is an immersive reality theatre game, in which the players are trainee spies, and must complete various missions across Nottingham in order to become fully fledged Cr0n agents. It was designed by Dominic Shaw and Adam Sporne, assisted by Leon Williamson.

The first game was in 2010; the pair got the idea after geo-caching, and thought to themselves: “well this is great, but wouldn’t it be more fun if…” And hence the game of cr0n was formed.
“We were commissioned by Mixed Reality Lab, The University of Nottingham and University of Southampton to produce two large scale interactive arts and research works as part of the ORCHID project.” – Adam Sporne.

The complexity and thoroughness of the planning and locations was impressive, and the extra details such as the identity cards and fingerprinting just added to the reality of the experience.

This year, it ran with Gamecity8, from the 21st to the 25th of October, and in order to get the ‘inside experience’ I volunteered as an actor. The complexity and thoroughness of the planning and locations was impressive, and the extra details such as the identity cards and fingerprinting just added to the reality of the experience (plus you get to keep the ID card as a little souvenir). It doesn’t cost a penny, and it is a great excuse to spend an hour, a day, or even the whole week pretending to be a spy!

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Even after the 25th, you can still follow the story and get involoved; Apocalypse of MoP is a mainly web based continuation, launching in November and continuing on into 2014 and beyond. So it is not live theatre but an online game that will involve other interactions, such as automated phone calls, email, pre-recorded videos, clues in magazines etc. making it transmedia.

They will get to feel that their presence really matters and makes a difference.

Both works are hybrids of theatre, art, gaming and research. They change and challenge audience behaviour as well as contribute to scientific discovery. Traditional audiences arrive in a space and then wait for something to happen, but not here. The audience gets involved. They look for clues, speak to characters and help them to develop the story. They will get to feel that their presence really matters and makes a difference. And because it matters it provides the potential for everyone to create, discover and experiment together.

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I was curious about the game from a players point of view, so I held a short interview with Nathanial; a player hoping to also get involved as an actor, to discuss his experience:

So why would you suggest that people play this game?
“You get to live out your childhood dreams of being a spy. It’s a bit of fun; you can be as involved or as uninvolved as you like, but the best thing is you don’t need a games console to play.”

What would be the perks of being a volunteer actor?
“You can help immerse the realism of the game; which is great because I love realism, and it’s something I complain about in normal games all the time; that they aren’t real enough.”

What are the benefits of it also being online?
“Well it won’t all be online, there will still be meet ups and all that, so it’s the best of both worlds really. It allows you to choose how you want to follow the missions.”

What is your favourite thing about playing?
“Last year they did this big thing at the end where the bad guys kidnapped you. They were absolutely huge; it was a thrill because it was that extra bit of realism, and there hadn’t been much realism up to that point; we’d been starting to complain that it was a little too safe. It was a lot of fun, but there was a keyword that you could say if it was too much for you.”

What about this year?
“The whole bunker experience, I like the idea, it wasn’t here last year. Especially all the secret rooms and passages, I didn’t see that coming if I’m honest.”

So, who do you think would be most interested in this? Or is it something for everyone?
“It is something for everyone, but it depends on your personal preferences: if you like spies; if you’re a kid at heart; if you enjoy the immersion and acting then go for it. It’s brilliant fun.”

Amanda Blockley

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One Comment
  • Richard Lakucs
    10 December 2013 at 00:16
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