Urban game | Łódź, Widzewska Manufaktura 2016
“The end of the seventies. It’s a cold March day. Dr. Albius Novell felt that the penetrating cold made its way to his feet. Dark rainy clouds intensified the darkness. The doctor was waiting for Vanessa Hyde, a new patient at the Point Pleasant Psychiatric Hospital, to arrive – the story of this woman we will learn tonight. From the first minutes of her appearance, her case was considered difficult and ended in a tragic death, which was the beginning of the collapse of the hospital itself.”
With these words the city game began – we prepared it in May 2016. Less than a month before, a company from Łódź reached out to us with a proposal to prepare a city game for its employees. There were two requirements though – that more than 100 people could take part in it, and that the game could take place in the former WIMA textile factory. It did not take us much time to come up with a rather fascinating concept of the game, which, to our surprise, our client agreed with. The complexity of the concept was to conduct the whole game inside the factory – on 4 levels of the old abandoned building.
“The guardian of Miss Hyde was the young Martin Thawn, a nurse in the hospital, a former soldier who had to leave the army due to some military injuries.” Being one of the youngest employees of the hospital, he received a special task from Dr. Novell. Thawn had to closely watch Vanessa, talk to her and find out what she did not want to disclose during therapy sessions. ”
Using the specific atmosphere of the factory, which looked like it was abandoned in a hurry, we decided to give a present to our participants – in the form of a large dose of thrills. The game has acquired the features of a dark thriller with paranormal elements. The game was played in a long-abandoned infernal factory, the role of which its premises were supposed to play. 10 tests with animators, 10 automatic tests and 2 rooms of quick quests were waiting for the participants. Because of the desire and necessity to fit the game into the climate and atmosphere of the factory, the tasks for the players were not too complicated, but they required a lot from us, as organizers, in order for us to prepare the visual effects correctly. It is therefore not surprising that animators wore much cosmetics, they had artificial blood and skull masks, they used many candles and other special equipment, even including a pig’s head.
“Martin Thawn noted that Vanessa began to strive to establish good relations with other patients of the hospital. After about two months of treatment, her condition, according to Dr. Novell, began to improve. The increase in contacts with other patients should have also indicated this. Her doses of drugs were reduced, and the conditions in the cell were less harsh now. Unlike the director of the hospital, Thawn felt the growing anxiety of Vanessa over that time – he was sure that something strange was happening around her, she was terrified.”
The mechanics of the game was set up so that the order was maintained in a large group of participants – for this purpose we decided to use a proven system for regulating the game from the “command centre”. For each team, a set of identical tasks was prepared, which were released to them at the starting point. Only after completing one task did the participants get another one. Due to the small area of the game, this decision did not cause trouble for the players and allowed to keep the game smooth and consistent.
“Dr. Albius Novell, alarmed by the night noise, went to the ward, where the largest group of patients was present. Many of them writhed frantically on the floor, many looked at the wall and muttered something under their breath. At the very end there was a terrifying picture – blood-stained Martin Thawn was kneeling next to the corpse of Vanessa Hyde, but when asked what happened, he replied that he did not know. “Her body radiated the strange darkness. Patients repeated odd incomprehensible words, like a mantra. Items in her ward glowed brightly. They called a demon who was about to leave Vanessa’s body. I had to stop them. I had to, do you bloody understand me? ”shrieked Thawn.”
The game lasted two hours and due to safety reasons, as well as because of the need to preserve the atmosphere, it had to end shortly before dark. Our greatest concern was whether the participants of the event would be able to curb their distrust so much as to completely immerse themselves in the plot prepared for them. Everything turned out without any serious obstacles though. The best teams managed to solve all the puzzles and easily pieced together the story of Vanessa Hyde. The game went according to its initial plan. The employees of our client and the management of the company were satisfied. The reason was simple. The game was won by a team led by the director of the company. However, we had no influence on this outcome either 🙂
Koordynator projektu: Piotr Lipski
Game designerzy: Joanna Ufnalska, Vojislav Radojicic, Piotr Lipski
Animatorzy: Jagoda, Marta, Iza, Nehan, Natalia, Tata Ufnalski, Rafał, Daro Lisu, Wiktoria, Jurek, Zosia, Justyna
Zdjęcia: Karolina Szczepocka
I haven’t seen this game. But only by photos I can tell that it was great. (M.Grelewski)