Complications Ensue:
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Street Wars, the assassination game, is now happening in LA. You get a water pistol and the coordinates of your target. Someone else has your coordinates. The last person still dry wins the prize.

I used to be part of a group that did live action role playing games. Not just the ones you can buy, like Vampire: The Masquerade. We wrote our own. New rules each time. Lotta fun. Lotta work for the players. Incredibly insane amount of work for whoever was mad enough to run the game.

(I ran a game about the night before the battle of Camlann -- Camlann Eve. The Questing Beast was duly captured, but though Ahasuerus knew how to find the Holy Grail and restore Arthur and Guinevere, it turned out he didn't tell anyone because it was of no interest to him personally! Life can be like that.)

We never figured out how to make those games pay, alas. And games that require too much creative effort on the part of the players rarely work out commercially.

Street Wars, of course, is a public version of Assassins, which they started playing at MIT in 1983, though Harpo Marx talks about the game in his autobiography, which could put the game back to the '20's.

I love when gaming and theater blur. On the theater side, one of the most impressive pieces of immersive theater I ever saw was a couple of performances of an adaptation of The Remembrance of Things Past in an empty house on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven in (probably) 1983 or 1984. Basically the playwright (I wish I had saved his or her name) made a play out of all the naughty bits in the novel. Several story lines were unfolding in different rooms. If you wanted to follow a different story line, you had to come back another night. It was one of the few times I've had an experience in a theater space that gave me something a movie couldn't have given me -- the magic of the actors being physically there and creating a sort of ritual space that you are in, too.


I first heard about this Assassins game in an episode of CSI: New York a couple of weeks ago. While it wasn't all fun and games there (someone was actually murdered, of course), it does actually look like a really fun thing to do out in the real world.

I intend to do the same thing with The Black Tower once the show gains popularity in syndication, with people signing up as members of the Gemini Group (a secret military-styled organization of demon hunters) or the Naedoch (immortal law enforcement officers who track down supernatural criminals i.e Jack the Ripper). Everybody will have targets to stalk and 'kill' in their home town.

I also intend to launch chain of night clubs all across North America, called The Underground which, in my TV series, is a secret social club deep under the Earth's surface where law-abidding members of the supernatural races can mingle with humans in a peaceful, loving and supportive setting. The people who become a member of The Underground are encouraged to role play (i.e. show up dressed as a vampire, seductive goddess, werewolf or other supernatural creature). A sign on the entrance will read "No drugs, no alcohol and no use of aggressive magic" to help get people into the spirit of things.

I'm going to have a recurring role on the series. My character is named KEL, and she's the vampire hostess/manager/talent booking agent for the club. I've done this so I can transfer the character to the real world as I launch and manage the clubs all across the country, hiring staff and talent (i.e. actors, comedians, magicians, jugglers, sword swallowers, belly dancers, rock bands). As a matter of fact, I'm meeting with former Tea Party frontman Jeff Martin in Ottawa this weekend to discuss having him write the show's theme song for the opening/closing credits, and be a recurring musical guest on the show, popping up from time to time to play a few songs with his band at The Underground.

I have big, big plans. Now, all I need is the cash. Lots and lots...and lots of cash.


By Blogger Kelly J. Crawford, at 1:58 PM  

We were playing Assassins at Columbia in 1980. And it wasn't a new game then. MIT is just trying to grab the glory on Wikipedia -- as if the Cal Tech canon weren't enough.

By Blogger Lisa Hunter, at 3:16 PM  

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