I am fully aware that this sounds like the ravings of a madman...
March 12, 2018 1:22 PM   Subscribe

The SimuLife Diaries • The Verge's Bryan Bishop finds himself in a four-day "immersive story experience" which includes a reunion with an old UT professor he's never before met, alternate timelines, and discovering he's married to a US Senator. Mind the warble.

Part One
Part Two
(Parts Three and Four to follow.)

This is a "Simu-Life", produced by Interactive Playland. From the Simu-Life website:
Simu-Life can serve as experiential training for individuals in high-consequence positions (e.g. international ambassadors) or as a once-in-a-lifetime immersive entertainment experience for individuals of significant means.
Bishop's adventure possibly includes involvement with Santa Fe's immersive art collective, Meow Wolf (Previously).
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich (11 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Mainly, I'm fascinated because I wish I were wealthy enough to experience this.

Well, okay, there was the time in ninth grade when an elaborate prank was played on me and my date by fifteen other people, at several locations, and including costumes and props. Do you know the ending of the 70s horror film, Race With the Devil? Yeah, just like that. We thought we were going to be murdered. I planned a diversion so she might flee.

So there's that I have to look back upon.

Anyway, a commenter at the Verge acknowledges that this is prohibitively expensive, but wonders if less ambitious efforts could scale. There are murder mystery parties, both amateur and professional. But I'd think there'd be a market for more like that (and Meow Wolf, which I've not visited, seems to be exploring some of those possibilities).

But right from the earliest days of MMORPGs I wondered why they didn't pay fledgling actors to perform interactively in-game. This could be done in both extemporaneous improv and in larger, scripted storylines. And you could limit it to RP-specific servers.

There's obviously a market for truly immersive entertainment that involves real people -- we've been imagining this sort of thing for decades. If there's a way to make it profitable, there's a market, I think.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:43 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


The on-the-cheap version of this is Nordic LARPing. Instead of expecting to be unexpectedly thrust into the game, though, everyone involved makes a more-or-less equal effort to create the space for the story. (And ensure that there are ground rules for keeping things from getting hella out of hand, which I would worry about for what's described in the article.)

(And the new breed of indie roleplaying games, like Fiasco or pretty much anything else by Jason Morningstar, are a great way to get an even lighter-weight narrative immersion fix.)
posted by kaibutsu at 2:37 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I like the Michael Douglas version better.
posted by runcibleshaw at 4:39 PM on March 12


This scares the crap out of me.
posted by Quackles at 5:33 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


But right from the earliest days of MMORPGs I wondered why they didn't pay fledgling actors to perform interactively in-game. This could be done in both extemporaneous improv and in larger, scripted storylines. And you could limit it to RP-specific servers.

In The Matrix Online, they did just that. No idea how it turned out, though.
posted by lumensimus at 2:03 AM on March 13


But right from the earliest days of MMORPGs I wondered why they didn't pay fledgling actors to perform interactively in-game. This could be done in both extemporaneous improv and in larger, scripted storylines. And you could limit it to RP-specific servers.
Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age has something similar as part of the plot.
posted by Harald74 at 2:19 AM on March 13


If we're collecting examples of real-life LARPing, I propose The Magus. (A book I'm glad I read, but didn't enjoy reading).
posted by Leon at 3:23 AM on March 13


This is fascinating. When are parts 3 and 4 coming out?!

I need to know if he hires the intern or not!
posted by Grither at 12:47 PM on March 13


Grither: When are parts 3 and 4 coming out?!

It looks like the story is up to six parts now, and more are on the way.
posted by Quackles at 12:46 PM on March 14


Hi all -- thanks for reading. The complete story is up now (eight chapters in total).

I'll be speaking with the creators as well for an upcoming piece that will discuss how SimuLife differs from other immersive and interactive theater, and some of those big-picture issues like scale and monetization that have been coming up. :-)
posted by bcbishop at 6:25 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


Welcome to MetaFilter, bcbishop!

It's fascinating that "Nikita" was also a participant. I suppose that might explain why you didn't hear the warble before she called you Tuesday morning -- perhaps her decision to call you caught them by surprise?

It's impressive that they were able to coordinate and improvise a story with two participants acting separately.

I assume you know this, given how you phrased something in that last part, but "Dr. Everett" surely is a reference to Hugh Everett III, chiefly known for the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. (Incidentally, Everett's son, Mark Oliver Everett, is "E", the primary artist of the band Eels -- something I learned just now.)

I'm looking forward to reading the next piece. Did you suspect that "Nikita" was also a participant? What was your impression of the performances? How much was Meow Wolf was involved? And a peek behind the scenes at the preparation and logistics would be fascinating.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:02 AM on March 17


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