You should… play Outside: the Cloud

What if a chemical weapon was secretly tested on a major city?
What if artificial intelligence could spread like a virus?
What if human life was slowly being replaced from within?

In early 2016, an artificial intelligence was accidentally unleashed onto the Internet – and into the physical world, via highly advanced nanotechnology that can affect human minds. Later that year, two scientists working for the company that created it stole the prototype to destroy it. But now it seems the company has been secretly testing this weapon on the general public.

Factions within factions, conflicting stories, who can you trust? Find the codes, complete the missions, and WORK TOGETHER…

Such is the premise of Outside: the Cloud, the latest interactive digital and real life game from innovative group Pop Up Playground, the masterminds behind Small Time Criminals. A real-life choose-your-own-adventure, each week players will receive part of the story along with new missions and puzzles which they must complete to find passcodes concealed in the real world, which unlock videos and documents that further the story. At the end of each week, players will make a collective decision online that will influence the direction of the story; each registered player will receive a single “vote”. There will also be two live events – one in  where players will have a chance to interact with characters from the game in person. Played throughout the streets of inner city Melbourne over two months, there’s no restriction on start time, so players can join in at any point and catch up on all the discovered codes or be brought up to speed by other players.

Playing is easy, simply sign up at Outside: the Cloud and receive your first email, containing the start of the narrative and your first clue! The clue, once solved will lead to a physical location somewhere in the city, where you’ll discover a code. Enter the code into the website, where five new locations will be revealed, near your current location at the site the first clue led you to. Continue to these locations and collect their codes, but be warned – they’ll be hidden! Entering these codes on the website will unlock a digital file, containing more of the narrative and evidence to help you base your decision on at the end of the week. Once you’re sure of your choice, cast your vote for the outcome of the episode. Next week you’ll receive another email, and the process will start again! At the end of Act One (week 5) and Act Two (week 8), there will be a live show to attend!

Central to the work of Pop Up Playground is the idea that play and games contribute to improved physical strength, intellectual faculty, and empathic capacity. They believe games make people (and society) healthier, smarter, and nicer. To achieve this, Pop Up Playground works with professional writers, actors, game designers, set builders, and puzzle makers to produce interactive live entertainment and new sports. They’ve designed games for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Bell Shakespeare, Melbourne University, The State Library of Victoria, White Night Festival, VicHealth and City of Melbourne, and have also run programs for Federation Square and the Melbourne Football Club.

Outside: The Cloud is proudly supported by VicHealth. The game runs from January 23 until March 26 2017. Tickets are $30 for one month and $50 for the whole game, and can be purchased from Outside: the Cloud.

Aidan Johnson is our man on the inside, and he’ll be covering the game and how it unfolds over the next month – keep an eye out for his weekly reviews.

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Til Knowles

Writer, radio maker, aspiring academic (read: student). Geeky for comedy, podcasts, science fiction, books, comics, television, film and theatre. Til is the Melbourne editor of Popculture-y.

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