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New game experiments with gaming experience at REACT Festival

05 Tachwedd 2015

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Cardiff University Print and Digital Cultures expert takes Black Maze to Festival

A new immersive game pioneered by Cardiff University academics and gaming experts is one of a host of events in the three day REACT Festival taking place in Bristol (5-7 November).

The new game is the work of academic lead Dr Anthony Mandal of Cardiff University’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy and his creative partners to experiment with the future of the gaming experience.

In The Black Maze your bio-data acts as the controller and you have 1000 heartbeats to escape the dark. Played in groups of four, this prototype game will experiment with some of the questions that REACT project Hyde asked about the relationship between our humanity and technology.

The Black Maze aims to give players a chance to explore how their own bodies can change the environment around them in challenging and uncanny ways. Using their biodata (heartbeat, breathing, posture), participants will gain a taste of future developments in innovative literary adaptation and gaming. 

The new game draws on ongoing collaboration with Simon Evans and Simon Johnson to create a literary adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's gothic chiller, Jekyll and Hyde, a novel which seeks to explore the dark relationship between humanity and science, between the body and the mind.

Reader in Print and Digital Cultures at Cardiff University, Dr Mandal said: "The experience at the REACT Festival will enable us to see how the public respond to these kinds of immersive game experiences, while giving them a taste of the new digital age of interactive participation that will increasingly fill our lifestyles. Moving away from the tv-and-controller model of video games, immersive gaming transforms the physical spaces around us into the game environment, blending the real and fantastic, the actual and the virtual seamlessly, as well as turning our own bodies themselves into controllers."

Dr Mandal is to deliver a talk about the collaboration as part of Cardiff University's Innovation Network on 25 November. 

Over three days the REACT Festival, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, celebrates three years of academic and creative industries collaboration.

Since 2012, REACT has paired arts and humanities academics with creative businesses in order for them to work together on projects around themes such as future documentary, books and print, and play. Many of them ended the process with prototype products and objects that visitors will be able to encounter and interact with as a part of the festival.

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