We sent a few questions to Myles Nye for a quick Q&A to help get the word out about The Heritage Scare, "a competitive haunted house: a haunt that you play as a game!" We encourage everyone we know in LA to go to this in our place and tell us how great it is!
Tell us more about your show in October!
The Heritage Scare is a competitive haunted house: a haunted house you play as a game. Well actually, a series of games in a whole neighborhood of haunted houses. We call it "An evening of competitive murder." There are six strategy games and one touchless room-escape style puzzle house and you can do them in any order, as many times as you want, all night long. The more you win, the more you might learn about this neighborhood and what made it so full of murder in the first place.
Why did you decide to do an immersive show rather than sticking with more traditional games?
We were inspired by Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, the boom in American room escapes, and the Korean celebrity competition series The Genius. Our expertise is in game design, and so by sprinkling in a bit more story, and really drawing upon the specificity of the location, we came up with something that nobody else is doing. We love participating in "story forward" theater, but very seldom do you get to make choices. Something we say at work a lot is, a game is a series of interesting choices. And that's not something that's presently being done in the haunt space, or even the room escape world really.
What are the resources that you're using that are LA-specific?
The Heritage Square Museum is probably the biggest asset we have going other than the huge amount of elbow grease we are putting into the design and execution. The location was so perfect, we knew we had to make something that was the prefect fit for this remarkable living history museum. It's a thrill to add some lore to a LA treasure many people have driven by scores of times without even knowing it.
What cool new thing are you doing with your show that you haven't seen before?
Probably the most eye-catching game is "Danse Macabre," a combination of Musical Chairs and a Jane Austen regency dance, where the object of the game is not to be dancing with a ghost when the music stops. People love this game because we have live musicians who add a ton to the environment, and because you are touching the other players, palm to palm, as holy palmers kiss. This game was a runaway smash last year, which is really saying something because just across the one small road that runs through the museum was our award-winning game Rose MacBeth, which is a blindfolded knife fight in a graveyard. But people liked the dancing game just as much!
Wise Guys, like Green Door, focuses a lot on games that happen in a physical space rather than video games or board games. Where do you see this type of game going next? Do you think immersive theater and location-based games will merge more?
I would love to see more chocolate (games) mixed with peanut butter (theater). Not just around Halloween time. Now that my son is in kindergarten, we've been going to theater since he was 1 1/2, and I think that a cool area to take this would be theater for families with small children. I have an idea inspired by a prequel to Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" that I think should be a walk-about game where a family sets out with a puppet representing the main character, and you walk around the neighborhood where actors are waiting and interact with "you" the puppet, and there should be musical numbers. I'm probably not going to do it, but if someone else does I'd bring my kid!