Review: 2.8 Hours Later Bristol 2012

6 09 2012

The start was once again in St Nic’s Market. The finish was in a deserted warehouse somewhere in St Philip’s. Along the way there was a zombie hen party on a bridge (below), bombed-out churches to explore, an attempt to join a commune and plenty of running away from the undead.

2.8 Hours Later is back in Bristol as part of igfest, and it’s back in Bristol for the last time ever. So if you have never played the zombie chase game before, book your tickets before it disappears from our streets forever. Games take place every night this week until Saturday.

Having played before in 2010 and 2011, I had an idea what to expect. But the team behind this city-wide excursion are masters at throwing in surprises and they once again excelled themselves with a brand new game this year, although retaining many of its best elements and still finishing with a bar, burger van and zombie disco.

Imagine watching 28 Days Later or Sean of the Dead, but instead of being a passive viewer, joining the action. You see a zombie in Broadmead, you run. Fast. You meet a vagrant near the cheesegrater bridge, you listen to his every word because his instructions will help lead you to the safe zone.

Get caught by a zombie – most played by volunteers who deserve many thanks for their shuffling around – and you are marked by a UV pen. You can continue playing the game, but you will be found out in the final area and zombified accordingly.

Without wanting to give too many details away to those who will be playing the game over the next few days, the map with grid references given out at the start leads you on a journey across Bristol.

Temple Meads and Brunel’s Old Station, which with the lights off and goodness-knows-what lurking behind pillars, takes on a decidedly spooky air. In what used to be a bank, we followed markers on the floor, only to double back on ourselves.

And in the former cells of an old police station, a trap was laid that my friend Kristan and I only just managed to escape; although his luck ran out when I accidentally closed a heavy door on his face with a zombie right behind us. We then took a wrong turn and stumbled around somewhere we shouldn’t have.

With scares coming thick and fast, from tunnels to stairways, the zombie count last night may not have been as high as it could have been. But as 2.8 Hours Later gets ready to bid farewell to the city that spawned it, this was a typically atmospheric valediction.

2.8 Hours Later will be greatly missed when it’s gone. Watching a zombie movie can’t compete with starring in this unique blockbuster in our own city and it will be intriguing to see what the makers of the game can possibly come up with to replace its thrills and spills, blood, guts and gore.

2.8 Hours Later runs in Bristol until Saturday. Click here for more information.





igfest needs you!

3 08 2012

igfest, the festival of incredible games, is returning to Bristol for its fifth year next month, and they need your help to make the festival a success, be that playing characters in the zombie chase game 2.8 Hours Later, or coming up with an incredible game yourself to be played during the festival.

The brains behind igfest are SlingShot, a small Bristol company based next to the Mother’s Ruin on St Nicholas Street, who over the last five years have taken their games internationally and worked with clients including Samsung and the Arts Council England.

2.8 Hours Later premiered at igest in Bristol in 2010 (read our review here) and has since been played across the country, selling out wherever it goes from London to Nottingham to Manchester.

It is absolutely brilliant fun being chased around Bristol by the undead, running from deserted buildings to empty shopping centres like lunatics.

I urge you to buy tickets for this year’s event. You will regret it if you don’t.

This year, 2.8 Hours Later comes to Bristol between September 5 and 8, and if you don’t want to take part as a player you can apply to become part of the action, playing characters like a stricken priest “in the throws of becoming a zombie, chained up in a dark church and abandoned by the choir and the congregation”, part of a zombie hen party or a pub looter.

Away from the big headline game, SlingShot need your help in coming up with more games to entertain during Igfest, which has seen everything from human Tetris to a a citywide game of golf using mobile handsets like a Wii remote.

“igfest games are different,” the SlingShot boys and girls say. “The games are all about unique connections between people and places.

“We play games in and with the real world. We play games in the city, on the streets and in unusual buildings and places. Some game are high tech and some have no tech at alll. Some games last for minutes and others hours. Some are rich and challenging and some are just senseless fun.

“We believe games can be as exciting and engaging as the cinema or theatre. igfest is a chance to play some of the best games from artists and game designers from across the world.”

To submit a game and for more information, visit www.slingshoteffect.co.uk.

2.8 Hours Later at the Galleries last year – photo by James Koch





Review: 2.8 Hours Later 2011

31 05 2011

Running, dodging, leaping, crawling, falling. Just some of the skills you need to escape from a zombie infestation in Bristol. 2.8 Hours Later was back in town this year as part of igfest, the Incredible Games Festival, and like last year’s adventure it was both absorbing and heart-pumpingly thrilling.

For those who did not see human beings chased through the streets of Bristol over the weekend, the premise is simple: escape the zombies and find the other survivors. To do this you needed a map, a good set of lungs, and help from a series of actor-participants along the way.

We started in St Nic’s Market and were then given a grid reference on our map in order to find the next rendezvous point. The first zombies appeared within seconds along Corn Street, tragically infecting Kristan, one of our group who from then on courageously acted as a human shield in Queen Square, Castle Park and various other locations which saw zombies roaming freely.

Our first encounter with a fellow survivor was in a deserted shop on Redcliff Hill. (Thank goodness for the recession because these deserted shops became very useful as part of the game)

We were then sent to the church next to the Fleece where there was a shrine to all the people who had gone missing, many of whom were quite possibly our pursuers, some much quicker than others, but all terrifying in their own ways.

Screams often led us to our destinations, in particular an old building in the corner of Castle Park where a doctor was chain-sawing something that was definitely more animal than mineral, blood spurting everywhere.

There were zombies around every corner but I managed to make my way to the bridge into the Galleries shopping centre, having to wait several minutes for the rest of my team to regroup and learning that we had another infected member, Vicky, who also somehow managed to scrape nipple on concrete in a fall/slide. She was okay for now, but little did she know her fate when we were decontaminated at the old Coroners Court in Stokes Croft.

Running around the Galleries, up and down stairs and escalators, trying to find some medicine and avoid the lurking zombies, was the best part of the evening. It was here that I had my own fall, ignoring the pleas of the organisers not to feel invincible and falling over onto my knees trying to run up a down escalator.

Escaping from the Galleries into Broadmead was a difficult challenge, but nothing prepared us for the trip to the Coroners Court after an encounter with a vagrant and a wounded couple in the Bear Pit. I had never seen so many zombies in one place. After an aborted attempt at making a rocket launcher out of thin air, I let my friend Lucy make the first move and then sprinted after her, leaping over two low walls in the process like Colin Jackson in the 110-metre hurdles.

We had made it to safety inside, and as the photo below proves, Lucy, Sharon and I had made it unscathed, after another epic evening’s entertainment where Bristol itself had become our playground for the night.





Review: 2.8 Hours Later

20 09 2010

A zombie infestation was roaming the streets of Bristol on Friday and Saturday night, lurking in hidden corners of the city. Survivors followed clues to make it from one safe area to another.

The lucky few made it to the old Bank of England building on the corner of High Street and Wine Street in one piece. The unlucky had been infected and left the bowels of the building with blood dripping down their faces after a brush with a make-up artist.

2.8 Hours Later was the highlight of the third annual Interesting Games Festival, or igfest. Over the weekend, igfest featured such diverse games as locating the wearer of a GPS-enabled bowler hat and coffin racing in Queen Square.

For 2.8 Hours Later, 200 people gathered in St Nicholas Street at 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights to await further instruction. Wearing orange armbands to differentiate ourselves from bemused civilians, the streets of Bristol then became the setting for the zombie apocalypse.

The living dead first appeared on Corn Street as we made our way to an abandoned shop on Park Street. This was the first of some lovingly-created safe zones, or so we were led to believe.

Enthusiastic actors played the part of fellow survivors on the top of West End car park, in the toilets on Park Row, along Johnny Ball Lane, on the walkways above Nelson Street, in the old Bridewell police station, on Union Street, and finally in the old bank, where we were led to safety by Simon Pegg’s character from Shawn of the Dead.

2.8 Hours Later was like stepping into a real-life film set where nobody had any idea what was going to happen next. It was wonderfully-created and brilliant fun.