Picture of Tristan Jakob-Hoff

Tristan Jakob-Hoff

Contributor

Tristan Jakob-Hoff is a freelance writer and critic. He misses the days when pointing and clicking on things constituted a serious form of gaming.

FeatureAt the gates of Temple Studios: Where gaming and theatre collide

How Punchdrunk created a virtual world in the heart of central London.

The elevator door rattles open and you step tentatively into a dimly lit maze of cardboard boxes. The door crashes shut again, so you have little option but to wend your way through the boxes, the eerie strains of a nostalgic doo-wop ballad leading you on through the darkness. Then, all of a sudden you find yourself, blinking, in the middle of a town square. The mise-en-scène and music are pure 60s Americana. Wandering through the town you pass a Rockwellian drugstore, a dressmaker's haberdashery, a saddlery, an old-fashioned toyshop. Dozens of ghostly figures, their faces obscured behind white Venetian masks, drift past the trickling fountain in the middle of the square, each of them on their own unknowable mission. In the window of an abandoned TV repair shop, you catch sight of your own reflection and remember that, in this place, you too are a ghost.