Hattie Lloyd 02/03/23

Now Play This

Now Play This 2023 | An Interactive Games Fest

London’s annual experimental games festival is returning this April.

And they’re not rolling the dice.

After all, this is going to be their 9th edition, having started out as a small three-day prototype back in 2015, and now taking over the stately surroundings of Somerset House for eight days this Spring.

For the duration of Now Play This, the gallery’s New Wing will be home to a dozen or so installations and pop-up games spanning the genres of video gaming, board games and live action roleplay. And true to the ‘experimental’ aspect of the festival, they’re not just the creations of games designers – artists, poets and activists have contributed to the line-up, which is selected from an open call for submissions.

The theme this year is Love, inspired particularly by the author bell hooks’ vision of care and personal growth in All About Love. Among the experiences on offer will be Angela Washko’s feminist dating simulator, The Game: The Game; Finnish artist Timo Wright’s 3D documentary Everyday Vrealities; fine arts professor Valentina Karga’s installation (that’s essentially an enormous pile of cushions); and, in the beautiful central courtyard, a giant rainbow maze filled with challenges and mini-games, designed by Australian artists Helen Kwok and Chad Toprak.

On top of the installations, Now Play This is also staging a trio of events – including an interactive show about love by ‘playful technology’ designer Alistair Aitcheson, and a silent, post-apocalyptic improv session in which you and your fellow participants will gradually remember what love was before the world ended.

Any gaming fans who miss it will be inconsolable.


NOTE: Now Play This runs at Somerset House from 1st – 9th (except 3rd) April 2023. Tickets cost £9, or £27 for an unlimited festival pass – you can book, and find out more, HERE.

Now Play This | Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA

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Now Play This

New Wing, Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1LA
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