Computer games get more immersive all the time ... but this one takes the biscuit! We join Spot the goblin in this interactive choose-your-own-adventure-style play, for kids both young and old, in which Spot’s favourite computer game becomes a lot more real – and the players must secure freedom and safety for the goblins of Gobland.
Having been told very sternly to go to bed and stop playing a computer game, Spot, of course, sneaks up in the night to complete the boss battle. But it all goes wrong, and suddenly Spot finds himself the main character, trapped in the game. The audience, and particularly the "players" must make choices – to fight, to negotiate or to steal – in order to unite the pieces of mythical treasure that hold power over the future of all the lands.
Computer gamers particularly will love the jokes and homages to video games, both classic and new. Recognisable tropes include skipping long cut-scene introductions, the character creation process, and getting waylaid by myriad side quests – which all get a humorous nod and a good laugh. The use of projection to display game-screen graphics was beautifully done, with clever fight scenes, gorgeous illustrations, and as a good reminder of when choices were needed from us. Similarly, the atmospheric background music was very well chosen, though in places was too loud for the unamplified dialogue to be clearly heard and appreciated.
The interactive and audience participation aspects would have worked better if there had been more of a warm-up, getting the kids (and adults) thinking and calling out. More could be made of the standard "they're behind you" routine in particular to really get the volume up and the inhibitions down. This was particularly true on the day I went, as everyone had been queuing in heavy rain for quite a while beforehand, so the audience were very slow to get on board. Despite that, I did feel the choices we were given had a meaningful effect on the action, although clearly some outcomes were inevitable regardless.
Gamers of all ages will appreciate the jokes and references, and children will enjoy the chance to control the action. The story is interesting, fun and has some moments of suspense. And while the ending and its moral tale may seem a little forced, it is still very satisfying.