By SHIRIN MOTAMEDI
The City of Melbourne is now playing host to a unique live gaming experience – the Insomnia Race.
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not a game that will keep you up all night. But that’s not to say you won’t be flooded with adrenaline.
So what exactly is an insomnia race?
A typical game combines elements of a car rally, Amazing Race and a scavenger hunt. Teams race around the bustling city at night, aiming to be the first to finish puzzles presented at every level.
Each level requires teams to interact with professional actors and search for codes in order to learn the next location in the race.
Urban Quest – Real Life Games director Serge Zubaryev says Insomnia Race provides an experience like no other and allows participants to explore locations in Melbourne they otherwise wouldn’t know exist.
“The entire city virtually becomes a playground and participants use our latest software as a main communication gateway during the game,” Mr Zubaryev says.
“Tasks, answers, codes, penalties and bonuses are all timed in seconds, making precise statistics for each game and keeping competition at a high.”
An Insomnia Race encourages both physical activity and cooperation – the game is based on teamwork.
It's one of a number of newcomers to the corporate team-building market, which is expanding from the more traditional idea of a round of paintball or a week-long retreat.
One is the the range of escape room options, where teams solve a series of puzzles and clues in order to escape from a room.
Melbourne businessman Jason Tash has used live interactive games as a form of team building a number of times in the past year.
“I first visited an escape room with a few friends and quickly realised how great they are as a form of collaboration and teamwork,” Mr Tash says.
“When you’re a leader of any business, it’s important to make sure your team is united and that each member gets along well with one another.”
Team building activities highlight the strengths of each individual and have the potential to boost morale, Mr Tash says.
“I have definitely noticed a friendlier work environment and I think live interactive games are a great way of achieving this.”
But do these live action games pose a threat to the gaming industry as we know it?
Millipede technical lead Patrick Toohey doesn’t think so.
Mr Toohey said it’s not about one type of gaming versus another, but rather an individual’s preference between a problem-based group activity or a night in with a video game.
“Gaming has diversified to the point where all kinds of creative possibilities exist side by side and can find an audience,” Mr Toohey said.
“Yet there are also more opportunities now than ever to create game experiences outside of the traditional frame of reference of consoles and PCs.”
So no matter what your preference is, there seems to be a slightly distorted reality out there just for you.
Insomnia Races are run every fortnight and usually cost $260 for a team of five. This month’s Halloween special will set groups back a reduced amount of $165.