Did you ever imagine your video game avatar losing it? Talking back to you? Not being able to hide astonishment with your idiotic commands or helping you out in a moment of crisis?
Meet Ste. In real life he’s an Irish actor and renowned photographer Ste Murray, on stage he becomes PCC (Player Controlled Character) in a live gaming adventure FUSED.
Designed by a Dublin-based game developer from Six Minute studio, Dan Bergin, FUSED is a theatre piece that brings back the excitement of playing classic point-and-click graphic adventure games like The Secret of Monkey Island series, Broken Sword, Grim Fandango or Telltale's Walking Dead – games known and loved by anybody who grew up in the 90s.
Ste starts as a boy-laundress with a pack of tic-tacs in his pocket and two annoying clients on his back. An hour later this regular loser with no ambition and no life plan finds himself tied to a bolted chair in a spy's headquarters, turning to an audience and screaming:
- Tell me what to do! Get me out of here!
Twelve players, randomly selected at the very beginning of the show, change every 30 seconds, trying to solve the puzzle. “Spit on the bolt and make it rusty!”, “Use tic-tacs!”, “Examine the rope!”, “Talk to the guy tied up next to you!”, “Sing a song!” – in the heat of the game, with time running out (every puzzle has a timer), players come up with the most surprising ideas.
- We spend months testing the game, preparing Ste for the bizarre audience reactions – says the creator Dan Bergin. – Once a week we organize a “tease play test”, during which our test players deliberately torture Ste, giving him crazy commands from “wet your pants” to “kill her with a spoon”.
Four other actors - Annie Gill, Camille Lucy Ross, Eddie Murphy and Barry Morgan - create the changing reality around Ste. They move the set between the game levels and change costumes in a tick to become spies, capos, villains, hostages, strippers or scientists.
Dan Bergin came up with an idea of a video game on stage after seeing similar experiments at the Game Play Festival in New York.
- This is not an illusion of an audience interaction, this is a proper game in which the stakes are high – says Bergin. – You can lose and never get to see the entire show. You can beat the baddie or become a villain yourself. There are numerous endings to the game and they are all up to you.
FUSED premiered at the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2013 and now comes back in a new and more technologically advanced version to the Dublin Project Arts Centre.