This site has touched upon the work of the Fire Hazard street games company in the past. Their stock in trade is energetic outdoor gameplay, often evoking movies’ chase sequences. City Dash is their breakout hit, popular wherever it has been tried. However, the basic principle of a chase game is easy to replicate; customised software to keep people precisely in touch with the state of play during the race is a lot harder and there are other variations on an intuitive and simple theme that can be tried to keep people coming back for more.
October’s game will be Shadow over Shoreditch. “The ladies and gentlemen of the Lumos Society race to seal the portal as sinister shapes slither from the shadows. Can your team of heroes crack the clues, escape the shambling horrors, and still have time for tea?” This iteration of the general principle aims to be a lot more theatrical than its predecessors.
The briefing will be in character, players are invited to dress for atmosphere as well as for practicality (“Encouraged (but not mandatory). Think ‘vintage adventurer’, perhaps with a dash of Steampunk ((…)) perhaps a collared shirt and a waistcoat?“), teams will be chased by squiddling Tentacled Horrors From Beyond and the afterparty will take place at the very cool Ziferblat, featuring custom-designed cocktails for the event. If the inhabitants of Shoreditch can go all-in for the likes of Secret Cinema, there’s no reason why other games couldn’t affect some similar sense of occasion. (A tip of the hat to the likes of Time Run and Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, possibly the state of the art for theming in exit games.)
As for the game itself: 50 players meet at our HQ, and our crew help you get into teams, pick up your map, and get the game running on your phone. Then we’ll brief you and send you all off into Shoreditch at once. Now you’ve got an hour to score as many points as you can. Find checkpoints in any order by looking at your phone to see the latest cryptic clues, get there, and look for the hidden code. Type that into your phone to update the scoreboard. But at the same time, watch out for our patrolling monsters. They don’t need to catch you – they only need to see you, so you’d better hope that someone on your team is keeping a lookout!
That hints at the other major step forward for this game compared to its forebears. No longer are you being chased by agents who wish to take their own photo of you in order to penalise you, but by monsters who need no such obvious tools and will cause collateral damage through their mere proximity. How can that be made to happen in real life? Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law reads “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic“; let’s leave it at that!
Shadow Over Shoreditch will take place at 8pm on each of the last four Thursdays and last four Saturdays of October. Tickets start at £8 per player for the preview event on Thursday 8th October, early bird tickets are £15 per player, with the Hallowe’en special wrap party being £25 per head. If you love craftsmanship at the cutting edge, don’t let this one fall into darkness past you.