The show must go on

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We had a great Renga show on Tuesday night for delegates from TEDx and the Crossover Summit. So good that Doc/Fest festival director Heather Croall booked us for another show, happening later today. We’re on from 18:00 (for 18:30) Saturday in the Crossover Lounge at the Workstation. We’ve met a lot of people over the last couple of days who heard about Tuesday’s gig but didn’t see it, and hopefully some of them will get a taste tonight.

Unfortunately, matters have been somewhat complicated by Adam breaking his arm at the Doc/Fest roller disco party on Thursday night! Not the only one either – Suzana from the festival production team is in the same boat (picture! it did happen), and there were a lot of bruised delegates wandering around on Friday.

Still, we’re here to network and Adam’s arm has been a constant talking point. Someone even suggested that it might have been fake! Great way to break the ice at parties :)

The perils of Roller Disco

The Power of Crossover

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This week we’re off up to the internationally-renowned Sheffield Doc/Fest, where we are providing a semi-permanent installation in their Crossover Lounge over four days entitled Decode Stiff Flesh. This will present a continuous series of images from the festival as the week unfolds, in the form of a giant jigsaw puzzle that delegates complete to uncover the next image. Running the installation for several hours a day over a four day setup is a first for us and a departure from our current focus on sit-down shows in cinema screens.

On that note however, we are also providing a Renga show as part of the Crossover Summit which runs alongside Doc/Fest, to an audience mainly consisting of commissioning editors from traditional broadcast media. We’re going for a meal after the show with pretty much the entire audience of summit delegates, should be an interesting evening of discussions!

Performing at the Crossover Summit is particularly significant for us because Adam’s experience on an intensive week-long Crossover Lab in 2009 had a really big impact and in some ways led to what we’re doing now. Not the idea specifically but the sense that key shifts in the media landscape are not generally initiated by the dominant players, they often come from left-field projects that might not start with a great fanfare but can have far-reaching implications further down the line. Cross-platform projects and other forms of disruptive new content are an incredibly exciting place to be and why we love what we do.

Final UK Renga Show before SXSW

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First public show of Renga at GameCity 6

Movie screens with frickin’ laser beams! wallFour presents Renga, our ground breaking feature-length show controlled entirely by the audience. This is our final preview show just 48 hours before we fly out to the US for Renga’s official premiere at the SXSW film festival.

We’ve been making a number of refinements recently and this will be the *only* public screening of the final version ready for the festival. Get a sneak peek before the international press see it.

This will also be our last night out in Derby before we leave town, come and party with us!

All Tickets: £10

Facebook event page

Broadway 1Up Quiz

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On the first Thursday of each month, Nottingham’s Broadway Cinema run a games themed pub quiz.  Hosted by the charismatic Andy Batson, the quiz is jam-packed with questions on videogames from the golden age of arcades right up to the latest releases.

Andy Batson in full flow!

Back in January we attended the quiz as part of our reconnaissance mission to check out the event before performing there in February.  We joined forces with some other first-timers and entered the quiz – with our team name “We used to be a team and then we took an arrow to the knee”.  It was a shock when this bunch of 1Up-virgins came out as overall winners.  The game related prizes were snapped up by our other team-mates leaving us to enjoy the delicious ‘winners wine’!

We were banned from entering the quiz in February as we were part of the show.  Our role was to replace the popular “Amazon Reviews” and picture rounds with our own laser-controlled Jigsaw round.  Teams had to collaboratively solve the jigsaw in order to correctly identify the game title.  This introduced a new style of play that we hadn’t seen before – as once a team had worked out the correct answer to the jigsaw it was in their interest to grief the other players.

The winners: wallFour and Friends

We had a great time both entering and performing! Unfortunately we’ re going to miss the next one because of GDC / SXSW but we’ll be back to reclaim our crown in April.  See you then!

The next 1Up quiz is Thursday March 1st.  Bonus prizes for including a wallFour reference in your team name!

It’ll be (a Bit of) Alright on the Night!

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Our broken Capture Machine

Our very old friend and indie evangelist David Hayward invited us down to be part of his inaugural ‘Bit of Alright’ festival. The spiritual successor to the ‘World of Love’ events with a running order reading like a who’s who of UK indie games scene.

It was great to bump into loads of old mates and see what they had been getting up to and updating them our own roller-coaster ride of the last 6 months.

Unfortunately, our day didn’t run so smoothly. We snuck around the back of the stage – secretly setting up our equipment for a rear-projection display – while other speakers presented up front. Everything looked to be going well, until we flicked the on switch. Nothing :( One of our machines was completely dead!

Lovely new PSU from PCWorld

Fortunately, we were setting up much earlier than our session so we fairly confident that this little hiccup would be sorted out in time. But… further investigation showed it was a pretty major issue. Warning lights on the motherboard confirmed this. We were travelling with the lite-version of our kit – so no backup sections. Our only option was to head to PC World for emergency components. Unfortunately they didn’t have what (we guessed) we needed, a small form-factor PSU – but they did have full-scale ones. So the only option was to go for one of those and sit the PSU outside the case.


Final setup with full-size PSU

This meant we had to forfeit our session on the main stage and instead run a smaller demo in the bar at the end of the day. We eventually got set-up there, although even this was more problematic than expected – too many boiling kettles caused a power-out. It seems the indie development world is powered by a whole lot of tea. Eventually we managed to show something – although perhaps not our slickest demo – an aging projector and a huge skylight didn’t help!

It was good to show our games to some local indies and get some really lovely feedback. Sets us up nicely for our shows and talks at GDC and SXSW!

Bit of Alright as a whole was a huge success and were glad to have contributed in whatever way we can – even though we didn’t get to see as much of it as we did of PCWorld! Can’t wait to see what David comes up with next!

Broadway appearances

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No, not that Broadway – Nottingham’s arts cinema + cafebar!

We’re delighted to announce that wallFour is collaborating with the Broadway Nottingham throughout February 2012 and we will be playing there on three separate nights. Firstly on Thursday 2nd Feb at this week’s 1UP game quiz we will be providing a special high-tech picture round. Secondly, we will be presenting a short 10-minute game made for Nottingham’s Light Night festival on Friday 10th Feb.

Finally, our feature-length show Renga which premiered at the GameCity festival will be running as a publicly-programmed show at the Broadway on Monday 20th Feb! It’s listed on their normal programme alongside normal films. Awesome. This is really exciting as it’s our first standalone show in a commercial cinema, and it certainly won’t be the last. Expect more announcements on this front in the near future. Tickets for the big show are available from the Broadway box office, check out their website:

Korea Game Conference

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We recently had the privilege of a trip to South Korea to speak at the Korea Game Conference 2011. Our presentation was about the history of computer-based crowd games for live events, and posed the question of why more developers aren’t doing this kind of thing! It was a crazy trip travelling non-stop for 24 hours, spending only 3 full days in Daegu and then 24 hours travelling back again, but it was well worth it for the pleasure of returning to Korea, having also spoken at the KGC 2009 in Seoul. This time the conference had moved to South Korea’s third largest city Daegu in the south west of the country, a 2-hour express train ride from the capital. This gave a much more ‘local’ feel and many times I really did feel like the only Westerner in the room / on the street, which was a weird but exciting sensation.

Most of the conference talks are still presented in Korean and there was only simultaneous translation to English in a few sessions. My own talk was given in English and translated live, so most of the audience were listening to somebody else talking in their ear and reacting to things a few seconds after I said them. This is slightly unnerving but I’d done it before so knew what to expect in terms of pace, and one of my jokes managed to get a big laugh despite these obstacles so I was very happy. In case you’re wondering, I told them that in Ashbourne’s Shrovetide football matches (thousands of players, two teams) the only rule is “no murder”. Strictly speaking this is not even a joke!

Clubbing in Daegu

My highlight of the trip was meeting Japanese DJ / game designer Baiyon at the welcome dinner. We got on well and discovered we had lots of mutual friends despite being from opposite sides of the world. This led to a couple of late nights out on the town drinking Soju and generally getting away from the conference. This photo was taken in a club in downtown Daegu where Baiyon hated the music (“terrible sound system”) but everybody was having a good time. I was amazed how safe it felt to be out til 4am – people drink but more sensibly than in the UK. In Korea it’s almost impossible to buy alcohol in a bar without being served some kind of food at the same time, which helps. I was really struck by how polite everybody was, even late at night. Also surprising was that Baiyon felt almost as culturally lost as I did, despite being from Japan which is just next door to Korea. Since I had taught myself the Korean phonetic alphabet Hangul but could not understand what any of the words meant, whereas Baiyon could recognise the sound of some words but could not read, we formed a useful partnership when navigating Daegu. I look forward to catching up with him in San Francisco next March at GDC 2012.


Renga – The world’s first 100-player laser game!

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On Thursday 27th October at 9pm, wallFour made gaming history, showing Renga, the worlds first 100 player laser game. Renga made it’s sell-out debut at this year’s GameCity Festival.

Renga is a massive co-operative game for 100 simultaneous players that combines strategic conquest elements from games such as Civilisation with action phases inspired by old-school arcade classics such as Defender.

The unique hour-long experience had players battling to grow their colony while simultaneously protecting against incoming invasions. Once the colony has grown to a sufficient size, players can use it to fight the final boss, Renga. At Gamecity6, players lost twice to Renga, each time being forced to retreat, repair and rebuild. Different strategies were formulated with the audience developing different colony arrangements before trying once again to defeat the boss. On their third attempt, using an advanced colony layout with a spike attack, the audience successfully defeated Renga. The crowd went crazy as with laser pointers being shone around on the ceiling in a frenzied euphoria.

A teaser trailer of Renga showing the game introduction was recorded on the night and is available here.

We are currently in discussions to show Renga again at cinemas around the country – get in contact if you’d like to arrange a showing locally.

Laser Cinema at GameCity 6

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Movie screens with frickin’ laser beams! What more could you want? We’re delighted to announce that we are headlining the Thursday night at this year’s GameCity festival in Nottingham! Witness the world’s first 100-player laser-controlled video game, taking place on their giant screen in the Old Market Square. Be there to witness history in the making.

We aren’t talking about a series of short mini-games here, people. This is 100 players taking a journey together in a co-operative experience. You will be shouting and screaming as the atmosphere builds to its joyous conclusion. Arrive as an audience, leave as a team!

This will be our biggest gig to date and we’re super excited to show our new work.

Minimum age: 12

Book NOW on Eventbrite, earlybird tickets available!

First preview sold out!

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Last Thursday saw the first of our three October preview shows. These are used to tweak our games with a live audience in the run up to our much larger performance at the end of the month, still to be announced.

It’s great that we’ve been able to run these previews at Derby Silk Mill, since we are currently working out of the Mill on a day-to-day basis as an experiment within the project transforming Derby’s museums. It’s a fascinating place and provides a really different environment for our audiences to see our work. We’re very grateful to the Silk Mill for supporting this event.

The evening was a huge success and it was great to have such fantastic support. We even sold a couple of tickets over the original allocation on the door, so we were more than sold out!

During the evening, we showed a number of different games we’ve been working on: Murder Mystery, Jigsaw, Particles and the new secret project (reserved only for attendees!)

At this Thursday’s preview show we plan to show our interactive music experience, the million dollar quiz, and of course the next version of our secret project :)

Tickets are now available for:

Thurs 13th October 8.30-10pm:
Thurs 20th October 8.30-10pm:

Our all-access “wallFour fanboy packages” are already sold out!