Today, a friend and I decided to venture out and do a little bit of Urban Exploration. It’s been a long while since we visited Camelot Theme Park in Chorley, and I’ve always wanted to go and do some more, so when I found a friend who also liked the idea, we decided to give it a go.
Father.IO looks to be the latest pervasive game, mixing augmented reality and the real world using a mobile app, it is a real-life massive multiplayer first-person shooter, and has been developed by Proxy 42, based in San Fransisco.
You can sign up now for priority beta access, fan updates and exclusive access, and be among the first to know when the game is launched.
Father.IO is a strategy game, and location based, and looks to be similar in concept to Ingress, with some added functionality. In addition to the mobile app, players can purchase a hardware device called the 363R Trigger, which allows players to enter a first person shooter mode where enemies up to 164 feet away can be blasted with a “laser”. Games can also be recorded in real time for sharing on YouTube, adding further social aspects to game play.
Set in the year 2040, players split into two teams, Humans, and Evolved. The Evolved are humans who have chosen to interface their biological brain with Etherus, the Artificial Intelligence that rules the planet. Because of Etherus, all conflicts now belong in the past, but then something goes wrong…..
FatherIO is a mysterious digital virus, which infects Etherus’ behavioural algorithms, and issues an order to exterminate all humans who have not yet become ‘Evolved’.
This presents us with our battle, and the real world is our battle ground. The world has been divided into hex-areas on a geo localised hex grid, with each area being controlled by either Humans or the Evolved. The app picks up other player’s smartphones within 15 metres, and from there, it’s war.
Want to get involved, sign up for priority beta access, fan updates and exclusive access here.
In light of Slingshot’s recent announcement that they have ceased trading, I decided it was time to do my write up on when I was a zombie for their game 2.8 hours later.
Back in July 2012, someone pointed me in the direction of a request for volunteers to be zombies for the game 2.8 hours late in Leeds, and I decided that this was something really awesome I could do.
2.8 hours later has run from 2011, although the story evolves each year, the premise of the game remains much the same. You are provided with a starting location in your chosen city, and there you are given a map to follow to escape the zombie hoard. Following the map you go through various checkpoints, which progress the story, but also have you running for your lives!
When you sign up to be a zombie, you first have to pass zombie school. Zombie school is a half day event where you are taught to become one of the undead, and to chase survivors, safely. That means no chasing survivors into oncoming traffic, if you’re not safe, you get a squid, 3 squids, and you fail zombie school!
Once you’ve passed zombie school, you pick which night you want to work, and in return you’re offered a free game on any other night. You can also work more than one night. I signed up to work the opening night, with a view to do more if I enjoyed it.
Safe to say that I really enjoyed it, and I returned each night after that to prowl the streets of Leeds. In the end, I didn’t bother claiming my free game, as I had way too much fun being a zombie instead!
My spot seemed to be The Core shopping centre, which was a really good spot for some zombie fun. Prior to reaching The Core, survivors had only come across slow moving zombies, so having been lulled into a false sense of security, they weren’t prepared for the chase. There were also a few good places to hide in the entrance area, which meant that you could take each group by surprise when they arrived, at least until the night got super busy and the queue started to form.
The best thing about being a zombie for 2.8 hours later, is seeing how immersive the game experience is for the people playing. I will never forget standing with my back to the entrance, watching a group of survivors try to sneak in through the reflection in front of me, and waiting for them to just get passed me before I swing around and take chase, only to hear them wispering, “Shhh, stay quiet and it might not hear us!” Well, unfortunately for them, I’m not a real zombie, I’m a person, and I can hear you. But it’s this feeling of being completely immersed into the event that makes 2.8 hours so special to play. In what other world could I have a grown mad, over 6ft tall and built like a house, screaming and running away from me.
I think it’s safe to say that being a zombie for 2.8 hours later is some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. After 4 nights, I could barely walk, barely talk, I couldn’t get the blood stains off my neck, and I loved every second of it!
I also made some awesome zombie loving friends, some of whom I went to do other zombie related activities with and who I am still in touch with today!
Last month I ended up signing up for the Spartan Sprint 5k race at Heaton Park. I even had great intentions to do lots of training and get back into my running which I had abandoned since my colour run last year. Well, lets just say that it didn’t go according to plan. I started training, but then I stopped again. With a bunch of other stuff going on, including landing a new job, (and putting in hours after my current job to get started asap), I just didn’t have time to put the effort in.
Instead I decided to go in with a different mindset. Instead of worrying about running in between obstacles, I would focus more on just being able to finish the course, and complete as many obstacles as possible. The only obstacles I would pretty much write off from the get go would be the rope climb or monkey bars, as even with my non existent upper body strength, I wasn’t sure my wrists would be able to handle it.
Race day was last weekend, and as I’m writing this I cannot remember the last time I ached so much. My legs are covered in scratches, bruises and are so stiff I dread the thought of stairs. I have blisters, scratches and bruises in places I forgot I had, and I’m struggling to lift up my arms. The Spartan 5k was amazing, and given the opportunity, I would definitely do it again!
One thing I read, was that anyone should be able to get of the sofa and complete a course, and surprisingly, they’re right! With my very low level of fitness and non existent training, I completed the course and failed only 3 obstacles, one of which was the spear throw at the end which almost everyone failed!
So, how did I get on?
Before the race starts you’re funneled up to the start line with the other runners in your group. Everyone is geared up by the Spartan who leads you in a quick warm up, and gets you chanting AROO AROO AROO!!! Before you set off up the hill and off to see what challenges the course ahead holds for you.
- Over/Under/Through – The first challenge was a relatively simple, over the wall, under a wall, through a wall. The first wall stands about 6 feet high, and looked pretty simple, but still took a bit of effort for me to haul over it!
- Big Cargo Net – It wasn’t until I was stood at the bottom of it that I realised how high it went, and I wondered if my vertigo would become a problem. As I neared the top I started to shake, but the two guys in front of me were lovely, and waited for me to get over the top to make sure I was ok getting my footing on the way down. Once I was back on the ground I was shaking, but feeling really good about pushing myself on.
- Wall Traverse – Fell off this one almost immediately, it was really difficult to get a good grip, so I didn’t get very far.
- Muddy Puddle – I actually accidentally skipped this obstacle. There were no marshals and no signs, just a big muddy puddle in the middle of the track, so I went around it, not actually realising it should have been an obstacle
- Hoist – The weight on this one was really heavy, so the marshal gave me a hand getting it started, but I managed to then hoist it to the top myself, although it really hurts trying to lower it back down, so I’m glad I wore gloves!
- Object Carry (Stone) – I didn’t have much of an issue with this, it was actually quite light, but the men’s stone was double the weight, so I don’t think I could have managed that one.
- Mud Hill – The best and worst bit of the day. The banks down to and back up the other side of the stream were so steep and slippery I honestly couldn’t understand how people were getting back up the other side. I ended up on my hands and knees scrambling for something to grab onto. Eventually I managed to get high enough to grab a branch, and drag myself up the majority of the other side of the embankment. Whilst almost at the top I felt myself about to slip back down, and have never been so thankful to have a random guys hand on my arse and give me a helping shove! Then it was straight back on my arse to slide back down the embankment into the stream!
- Barbed Wire Mud Crawl – After a rather long queue, we were told that we could skip this one with no penalty, as the wait was long and there was a risk of glass in the stream. I was quite surprised at the amount of people who skipped it completely, I thought that people would at least give something a try before backing out. The first section of barbed wire was quite high off the ground, so I worked with a group of lads where we held the wire up for each other as we ducked under, but towards the end it was hands and knees and a full on crawl through the stream and up a much less steep embankment to finish this one. Not surprising I had gone from reasonably clean to mud covered by this point.
- Cargo Net 2 – This time the incline had no netting, just horizontal bars quite far apart. I was really scared on this one as my trainers were really slippy, but I made it to the top and had no issues coming back down.
- Sand Bag Carry – It didn’t feel that heavy when I first picked it up, but when you’re already exhausted, 20 lbs becomes pretty heavy pretty quickly.
- Balance Logs – I didn’t think I would do very well at this, I have terrible balance and coming up to it I saw everyone falling off, but I took it really slow and steady, and made it to the end without falling!
- Rope Climb – I knew I didn’t stand a chance in hell with this one, but I gave it a quick try, failed miserably, but at least I tried first!
- 6 foot walls – Next up were two 6 foot walls. I remember being younger and hauling myself over walls with ease, but now, with my aches and pains, lack of general fitness and exhaustion setting in even these were a struggle, but I made it over ok.
- 8 foot wall – I was quite worried about this one, just that extra 2 feet made it so much harder. I was also a bit miffed, as the girls in front of me struggled, so I ran up to give them a helping lift over, but then when I was half way up, there was no one to help me! Thankfully my amazing boyfriend was on hand to give me a quick leg up and help me over.
- Spear Throw – Apparently by the time I got there, there had been less than 20 people who had been successful with the spear throw. I of course was not one of them, although my spear was at least on target…..
- Fire Jump – It wasn’t that big, but it was actually pretty hot jumping over! I even mustered up that last bit of energy to run the final stretch.
The preliminary results show that I completed the course in 1:53:36, which I suppose is pretty bad, but taking into account I got stuck in a couple of long queues (especially at the barbed wire crawl) I reckon that I could take 20 minutes off that time! I also appear to have placed 1012 out of 1030, so I didn’t come last! And on top of that it looks like 172 people didn’t even finish, (or turn up, I can’t tell).
Overall I really enjoyed myself, but there was one thing that really set me back. Where the hell were the water stations!!!!! A Spartan sprint is advertised at having 3 water stations, but I saw 1, and it was right at the end with the spear throw. I was really really struggling, as it was a very hot day and obviously throwing yourself over walls and running up and down hills is hard work. Whilst walking out I did see a tub of water bottles behind the hoist obstacle, but it was behind it! I couldn’t see this when I was running the race, and there was no one pointing it out. I have no idea where the third water station was, but everyone I asked said they had seen no water either.
I think that in future water stations should be clearly visible and marshals should be on hand to make sure you don’t miss them. It would also be nice if the obstacles were sign posted so you don’t accidentally run around puddles you should be running through. I also assume that some of the tough terrain and logs in the woods I had to climb over were classed as obstacles, and it would be nice if these were also labelled as it’s a great sense of achievement each time you complete one!
So, to sum up, MASSIVE thanks to the two guys who made sure I was ok on the cargo net, HUGE thanks to the guy who gave me a shove up the mud hill! I would definitely recommend that everyone give this a try even if it’s just once, you’ll have enormous amounts of fun, wear your war wounds with pride and feel a great sense of achievement.
For more information, please visit the Spartan UK website!
Saturday the 20th June 2015 saw over 400 Ingress Agents descend on Liverpool for the Persepolis Anomaly.
The Persepolis Anomaly ran from the 30th May to the 20th June, and I was lucky enough to have a Satellite event held close to home. My first Anomaly was Helios in Manchester last year, and to be honest we haven’t actually played much since then.
I love anomalies because I love how it brings hundreds of players together for a common goal. I enjoy being a part of something bigger, and it’s something that the Enlightened in the UK are particularly good at. I’ve found that the reason we do well during anomalies in the UK is generally because we have an amazing leadership team, who take the time to organise us and put our tactics into place. By the time it reaches game day we all know what we’re doing, and we work very well as a team, something which I do not see as well reflected in the Resistance.
There have been two anomalies in between Helios and Persepolis that I wasn’t able to attend. Darsana ran October to December 2014, but did not come to the UK, and Shonin ran February to March 2015, and did come to Cardiff, but we couldn’t make it.
Once again we were split into teams and allocated a team leader to guide us on the day. I didn’t know if I would know anyone on my team prior to the event, but that doesn’t matter. I had again arranged for us all to meet early for breakfast so we could get to know each other a bit before the event kicked off, and after we headed to the meeting point we of course had our obligatory team photo before the big group photo was taken.
Once that was all over and done with we headed off to our first location. Tactics since Helios had changed slightly, so as well as trying to control portals we were also going to try and link from them, as this time around links are worth a lot of points. But other than that, tactics were very similar. As we are still not level 8, we were in charge of ensuring the portals were shielded at all times, but in between shielding we would also help deploy resonators and recharge existing ones.
Previously at Helios the we also switched to bursting when we lost control of the portal, but Persepolis was no where near as hectic, and we only lost the portal very briefly on just a few occasions. In fact we held our portals so well, I rarely had to deploy resonators, instead only needed to switch to recharging as they were being attacked.
I think that the change in requirements this time is a real credit to our leaders and organisation. There were times, especially during the 3rd measurement when we didn’t even need to recharge the portal. The attacks had stopped, and the Resistance had just given up. They were not as organised as us and their leaders had not provided sufficient instructions on how to handle the fight, so they became lost and defeated long before the anomaly was over.
This difference was again reflected in the scores. Whilst during Helios Manchester our score was double that of the Resistance, for Persepolis our score was triple that of the Resistance! Considering all of Liverpool spent 2 measurements under a blanket of green thanks to one of the Enlightened tactical teams, it wasn’t surprising that combined with our organisation and teamwork we won Persepolis Liverpool by a massive 529 points!
Final scores came in around 3am that morning, and unfortunately it was an overall win for the Resistance, but only by 429 points! Overall the Resistance have won all anomalies so far, but up here in the North of the UK, the Enlightened are still the superior faction when it comes to Anomalies.
Massive thank you again to the Enlightened leaders who made this all possible, and once again, if you would like to join me in the battle against the Resistance and join the Manchester Enlighted, then join our group here, say hi, have some cake, and join the fun!
Last weekend I had the
displeasure of returning to Camp Mass Acre for this year’s edition of Horror Camp Live. I last ventured to the campsite in 2013, and I had a fantastic experience. I have also been a regular at Scare Kingdom each Halloween, even braving Psychomanteum in 2014, and I have always been impressed with how Scare Kingdom has evolved their attractions each year. They have had big developments since I last came for Horror Camp, so I was interested to see how the experience had changed.
This year there were some familiar faces and some new ones, some much improved settings, but overall a similar format.
We started the night by being escorted to our campsite by the farm owner Abraham Cleaver, who if you have frequented Scare Kingdom in the last 4 years you may well be familiar with. Unfortunately this year he is lacking his wife/sister, who appears to have left him. But fear not, he’s on the look out for a new one, so play your cards right and you could be the new Mrs Cleaver!
If that hasn’t got you sold, you’re next introduced to the person in charge. This year that person is Dybuk, yes, the hag with a psychic pussy and a foul mouth has somehow got herself in charge…… It turns out that Fanny Twitch is dead, and Dybuk has taken over, but there is a shrine in Fanny’s honour, and her spirit is still alive and well at Camp Mass Acre.
Dybuk is assisted by a new Incesta, (not the Incesta from 2013, and not Abe’s wife/sister, but the same name, which was a bit confusing) who will keep you entertained throughout the night, especially with her dancing!
This year the setting for Horror Camp Live has vastly changed from my last visit. The screening room from two years ago was perfectly fine and I had no complaints, but the setting this year was far superior. Thanks to the addition of the permanent structure Manormortis, this years holding area has been moved to Manormortis’ Ballroom. A fantastic room, intricately decorated and with a purpose built stage, excellent for putting on little shows throughout the night. Straight away it’s obvious that the whole production this year is going to bigger and more impressive.
The format for the night is still very much the same. The night starts with a film and food (which is very nice) and then once the film is finished, we are interrupted by Lockjaw… This time Lockjaw has set us a challenge, 9 missions for us to obtain 9 clues, and then a final test to pass. Again we were split into 3 groups, and went on 3 missions each.
The setting for the first mission is the new Psychomanteum building, and we are subjected to the horrors of Doctor Goodkind and the Femflesh. One thing I did notice, was that Horror Camp Live is messier this year….. It’s also obviously been developed to run alongside Psychomanteum, as the sexual undertones (or overtones) of the night and the missions are more prevalent than in my previous visit.
In between missions you may have been lucky enough to be chosen to receive a personal experience with Automata, a clockwork automaton with a human heart and brain, in the depths of Manormortis. Unfortunately I missed out, and as the group was quite large this year, I think that only a small portion of campers got to experience this part of the event.
The third mission is set in Manormortis itself, a hugely impressive structure with great attention to detail on the set and props within. Manormortis was a permanent structure added to the site in 2013 and has become a great setting for both Horror Camp Live & Scare Kingdom, bringing a high production quality to both shows.
After the 3 missions are complete you have to pass the final task as a group, and we are subjected to the big finale. I think this bit of the night could do with some fine tuning, it didn’t quite feel like a ‘big finale’ and then it was just kind of over and we walked out of the room back to the campsite. It left the events of the evening feeling a little unfinished, and I remember it feeling a bit ‘bigger’ back in 2013.
Back at the campsite we settled in for the night, but having been before I laid there expectant of the raids to come during the night. This year I felt again that the raids were on a smaller scale than the last time I came, but I think this may have been due to us being in a much larger group, so there would have been more of us to get around. I think it’s difficult when you have experienced something before not to compare the two, but having said that, taking this year’s experience on it’s own was still immensely enjoyable. My companion this year had not been before, and she thoroughly enjoyed being joined in bed by the Femflesh!
There were a few things that let down the night slightly overall. The group this time was much bigger, 30 of us instead of 12, so our mission group was over twice the size of last time. This made the experience feel less personal, and I think that maybe 30 is too large a group to get the best out of the experience. We also unfortunately got stuck with the drunks in our group, who became quite disruptive during missions, and we felt that the actors had to put a lot of energy into keeping them inline and stopping them from ruining the missions. Despite having a drink limit for the event, this was obviously exceeded by some people, and perhaps this should be monitored more closely by the producers, for the sake of the other campers.
One massive positive that came out of this however was the actors themselves. My personal favourite is Dybuk, who is by far the star of the show. A great character, phenomenal actress, witty and quick of the mark, Dybuk is the perfect camp leader for the night. With her sharp tongue she is set to keep even the most unruly camper in line, and the night would certainly not have been the same without her.
Other ones to watch out for is Abe Cleaver, Dr Goodkind, Femlesh and Phoofa. Towards the end of the night you get the pleasure of Phoofa’s company, a sweet girl with poor personal hygiene, but a welcome addition to our group for the rest of the evening.
I will say that Horror Camp’s actors are some of the best I’ve seen, and the whole experience is really made special by them. Keep up the amazing work guys, and I’ll hopefully be back to see you again soon!
Whilst our entry to the race was received at a discounted rate, this review is my honest and unbiased opinion.
In February we heard about a pervasive game heading to Manchester called City Dash.
City Dash was the latest game by Fire Hazard, one of the UK’s leading street game outfits, running since 2008, they are the team behind Heist.
In City Dash, you have 60 minutes to reach as many check points as you can, while cracking clues, running, sneaking, plotting routes and working as a team in your group of 3 0r 4.
We signed up as a team of 3 (Team Awesome), and in March we took part in this game of speed, stealth, and strategy.
We had great fun playing City Dash, and you can read the full review here.
Now City Dash is heading back to the streets of Manchester on the 17th May. The game will again be held in the Northern Quarter, but the checkpoints will be new, and there will be extra summery surprises and challenges included.
Early bird tickets can now be purchased for just £7! And if you use the code AGENTZERO you can get 20% off!!!!!
After a long awaited sleep, we awoke again bright and early for a full day of excursions. After breakfast we waited for our 8am pick up for the Golden Circle and Fontana Spa Tour. Unfortunately it turned out that our booking agent had given us the wrong pick up time, and we were actually being picked up at 10am. Despite being a bit annoyed that we could have had an extra few hours in bed, we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast coffee and hung around in the bar area for a few more hours.
After we were finally picked up, we were excited to head out and see Iceland’s National Park, and enjoy a few hours of relaxation at the spa. The first stop off was at Thingvellir where we saw the largest natural lake in Iceland before heading to see the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian plates. We headed down to walk across the gorge from America to Europe, and had a quick look at the waterfall Oxarfoss before heading back to the coach.