Magister Ludi is a comedic game about our role in escape, that is a touring installation and is available for the iPad, and online (Since May 2015, due to changes to Chrome the Unity web player cannot be used, view in any browser but Chrome). The game was commissioned for Experimenta’s 2015 International Biennial of Media Art: Recharge, and was also in the Official Selection for the 2014 Freeplay Independent Games Festival’s Parallels event at ACMI, Finalist for the 2016 ‘Digital Narrative’ Award, WA Premier’s Book Awards, and Finalist for the 2015 International New Media Writing Prize.
“Magister Ludi” is an online game and installation that puts a twist on the escape-the-room genre with a wry narrator and design that interrogates our role in needing to escape. It is informed by my experience in getting through a PhD, getting over an abusive relationship, and getting away from poverty. It is about the thought-processes that stay with you long after the problems aren’t around anymore, and so you don’t truly escape until you deal with them. The title is an allusion to Herman Hesse’s Nobel-prize-winning novel “The Glass Bead Game,” and Magister Ludi plays with the idea of the conceptual game depicted in the novel. It launched in the exhibition and online in late November, 2014.
Magister Ludi is was available in the iTunes App store, and toured around Australia for the Experimenta tour:
- It opened at the RMIT Gallery in Melbourne
- and I did an artist talk
- Part of White Night Melbourne
- Arts Mildura 5 MARCH – 12 APRIL 2015
- THE LOCK UP, NEWCASTLE, NSW 10 JULY – 9 AUGUST 2015
- QUT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES PRECINCT, BRISBANE 25 AUGUST – 26 SEPTEMBER 2015
- Cairns regional gallery, qld 10 october – 22 november 2015
- Featured in Cara Ellison’s ‘Embed with Games’ book launch at Babycastles in New York on 23rd Nov. The book includes interviews with myself and the artist Marigold Bartlett about the game.
- warnambool art gallery, vic 5 december 2015 – 7 february 2016
- albury regional gallery and librarymuseum, vic 27 February – 17 april 2016
- latrobe regional gallery, vic 7 May – 10 july 2016
- anne & gordon stamstag museum of art, adelaide 19 august – 23 september 2016
Magister Ludi is currently touring around Australia. It opened at the RMIT Gallery in Melbourne, and was a part of White Night Melbourne. It has recently toured the Mildura Wentworth Arts Festival for 5th March-12th April; and next travels to The Lock Up Cultural Centre [Newcastle Historic Reserve Trust], Newcastle from 12th July – 9th August 2015.
Freeplay Parallels Trailer:
Drawing on the escape-the-room phenomenon, I created a space that is about escape. However, since I wanted the emphasis to be on our role in needing to escape I changed the mechanics. Instead of solving puzzles through opening objects and moving them around to unlock puzzles, the player places objects in the room. The movement of objects is further complicated by what they mean. So the player needs to see whether adding to the room (or taking away) actually helps them or not. Indeed they’re not really escaping a room, instead they’re constructing their world in a manner that either denies their needs or places them on the path to self-sufficiency.
The full writing and interactions spreadsheets are available here (spoilers):
- White Night Melbourne, ‘Experimenta Recharge‘ – Feb, 2015
- Embed With…, ‘Embed With…Marigold Bartlett and Christy Dena‘ – Cara Ellison, 31 Jan, 2015
- Aphra Magazine, ‘Experimenta: International Heartbreak‘ – India Rose, 19 Jan, 2015
- RealTime Arts Magazine, ‘Experimentation with Added Spark‘ – Darren Tofts, Dec-Jan 2014-15
- SimonStaffans.com, ‘One Year In: Now Media Vol IV‘ – Simon Staffans, 1 January, 2015
- Blouin Art Info, ‘INTERVIEW: Jonathan Parsons on Experimenta “Recharge” and Media Art‘ – Nicholas Forrest, 5 December 2014
- Spook Magazine, ‘Future Now: Experimental Media takes over RMIT‘ – Spook, 12 November 2014
- Crikey, ‘Freeplay Celebrates with 12 New Home-Grown Games‘ – Peter Green, 22 October 2014
- Time Out Magazine, ‘Experimenta Recharge‘ – Finn Houlihan, 1 October 2014
- Fluoro, ‘Recharge: Experimenta’s 6th International Biennial of Media Art‘ – 30 Sept, 2014
- Game Cloud, ‘Designing Deep Games with Christy Dena‘ – Kirk William, 28 Sept, 2014