Earlier in the life of this blog, both myself and Angel (No Relation) wrote about ARGs (Alternate Reality Gaming). Ever since the conclusion of the Dexter ARG, I’ve been rather obsessed with this form of gaming. As I discussed in relation to the Games of Nonchalance in San Francisco, a lot of transmedia storytellers are trying to figure out new ways to create Alternate Reality Games that can be either repeated or exist in a more permanent capacity than just the build-up to the product it is advertising (ie Season 5 of Dexter, Tron: Legacy, etc). Accomplice: The Show is one example of an Alternate Reality Game that takes place entirely in ‘real life’ (well, with the exception of some phone calls that are made early on) and that can be repeated as often as you can either afford to or want to go. Granted, the basic story remains the same in each city, but the people you interact with will always be different and the interactions with strangers are part of what makes the game so much fun.
Unfortunately, I can’t really describe much about the show without spoiling things. I attended an Accomplice show in Hollywood that revolved around a troubled Hollywood starlet, modeled after the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohen. That’s all I can say about the ‘plot’ without spoiling some of the puzzles you need to solve as a group. The show involves actors and a journey through Hollywood (or New York, or London…depending on what show you go to) with a group of about 10 fellow audience members. You get to explore different restaurants and bars, and see parts of the city that you might have missed if you were just visiting the city on your own. Even if you have seen these parts of the city before, the game makes you re-explore them in a new light (as a part of a fictional story) and with new people. The ticket price is a little steep (normally $65 but they frequently have a discounts). Furthermore, the ticket price includes free drinks and food at a handful of the restaurants/bars you attend throughout the show, which is better than what you would get if you attended a Broadway show.
The Hollywood show I attended was brilliantly acted and, in general, such a unique idea that it’s hard to find any sort of criticism (other than the cost of a ticket). It lasts roughly 2.5 hours and involves solving puzzles, speaking with strangers/actors, and navigating the streets of whatever neighborhood you’re in (I was in Hollywood, but they have them in Greenwich Village, Downtown Manhattan, and London). It’s not complicated and you don’t need to be familiar with the city (they give you a make-shift map). It is just a matter of working as a team to figure out the next location/stop along the game.
I’ll admit that a primary reason I ended up shelling out money for this show is because the Hollywood version is produced by Neil Patrick Harris. He is not in the show but I admire his work enough to know that if he is associated with something, it should at least be interesting/fun. If you want to hear his little bit advertising the show, I was able to find an interview with him on Regis & Kelly:
So, you know, if my little advertisement above isn’t enough, then you can at least trust NPH, right?