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DIGITAL DEBATE WEDNESDAY: Full Immersion Resorts

 

Every Wednesday, the staff of The Ace of Geeks will get our keyboards ready for a good, old fashioned nerd argument, and you get to hang out with us! Feel free to email us any ideas you might have for future debates, or let us know in the comments! Until then, here’s this weeks topic:

A survey was sent out this week, purportedly from Disney, asking questions about a luxury resort that would actually put guests inside the Star Wars universe for the length of their stay, including preplanned adventures and interactions with Star Wars characters, and a room on a starship.

Basically, Disney just went full blockbuster LARP.

The theme park industry has been moving towards the world of full immersion for a few decades now, and it got me wondering. If there was a theme park invented in your favorite universe, some place where you could live and explore as a character, what universe would it be, and what experiences would you want it to include?

Katrina Smith: I think Firefly could make a great one, actually. Serenity is already primed for passengers (that’s how they got book, simon and river, after all) and the world offers opportunities ranging from the violent (reavers) to the sexual (companions) and landscapes from the sophisticated city to the primitive moon. I see this as more westworld than character LARP, though.

Mark Foo: Whoa

Katrina Smith: Also, guess I know what I’m saving for in terms of the next family vacation

Teresa Loesch: In a perfect world, it would be Star Trek, conducting a first contact with a new civilization. There would be adventure, there would be diplomacy, there would be infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Jargon science! Federation!
I also have absolutely no faith that this would be done.  Especially after the reboot movies, I’m pretty sure it would just be a series of war games and explosions and make me sad.

  • Katrina Smith: I would be here for this, too.
  • Patrick Lowry: The sad thing is that this kind of already existed? The Star Trek Experience in Vegas was a fully immersive theme park that really strove to put you inside the movies before it was unceremoniously shut down.
  • Teresa Loesch: I was a child/teen when it shut down, so I never got there.
  • Mary Anne Butler: Yeah, same. It shut down three months before my 21st birthday. My mother went without me, after we had talked about it for YEARS as what I wanted to do for that birthday.

Mary Anne Butler: The Potter worlds I think would be RIDICULOUSLY well attended and money makers.

  • Lauren Harrington: Seconded. I’d LOVE a Potter world
  • Alexis George: There’s a couple really well run LARPS for Potter that usually sell out.
  • Korbl Klimecki: The Rowlingverse was one of the first things that came to mind. Universal could definitely expand Wizarding World into one of these Full Immersion Resorts.

Raven Knighte: omg so many… The Star Wars one is a good start. Um… Battlestart Galactica. Babylon 5. Star Trek. A fully immersive Harry Potter experience. A Dungeons and Dragons world. Omg… *wanders off rambling to myself about omg*

Scott Woodbury: What a concept and one that I am extremely interested in.
Given my love of Star Wars this would be my primary choice. I think having the option of Empire era factions would be a great place to start. You could either stay at a Empire Base or a Rebel Base. It would come with a fully fleshed out character you could “Play” also given long and short term goals that you can decide to complete. It would further be alluring if costumes where provided and encounters where generated during slower moments. As for the content of such things, the Star Wars universe can provide numerous story lines to fit anyone’s taste.
My second choice: The Firefly Universe. Living on the edge of civilized space trying to scrap by while flirting with different interpretations of the law sounds fascinating.

Katrina Smith: To move in a different direction, there are several book series that I think could also be great. For one, Simon R Green’s Nightside books– the writing level is so inconsistent but the concept is expansive and leaves room for so many different iterations; all the magic, all the hedonism, all the scifi, all the time travel.
And I think Wheel of Time would do very well, too.

  • Raven Knighte: The world of the Green Rider would be great too!

Tyler Dent Hayes: Steven Universe. You get to form your own team of Crystal Gems and explore accessibility- and inclusivity-minded obstacle courses and puzzle rooms and engage in safe, consent-based, laser-tag-style combat with gem monsters and Homeworld Gems, with all of Beach City to relax in between adventures, complete with donuts at the Big Donut and the bits from the fry hut. If you want, you can also work with the team of psychologists and social engineering specialists to help you experience specific types of emotional catharsis over the course of the weekend, but that is strictly opt-in-only.

Tyler Dent Hayes: Alternatively, I want a Stranger Things experience that is basically a giant interactive haunted house where you can retreat to a safe room for snacks and D&D.

Mary Anne Butler: “Wheel of Time” larp- 8 books of wandering around in the desert where NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.

  • Katrina Smith: hahahahaha, this is the truth
  • Katrina Smith: Once in a while someone flashes a well-turned calve
  • Mary Anne Butler: *braid tug*
  • Katrina Smith: I meant calf but I’m going to leave that autocorrect because… well, for obvious reasons

Mary Anne Butler: READY. PLAYER. ONE.

  • Patrick Lowry: OH MY GOD YES
  • Mary Anne Butler: You knew I was going to go this route- and it’s completely doable at this point with how fast accessible VR is developing
  • Mary Anne Butler: also Tron

R Steele Earl: Discworld

  • Tyler Dent Hayes: HELL. YES.
  • R Steele Earl: You do an excellent “Death.”

MalKontent Blizzard: I would love a Dresden experience. Probably using something like the Magischola mechanics if you’re a wizard.

  • R Steele Earl: … Unless you actually have to BE Dresden. That would (mostly) suck.

John Garcia: I remember the old tomorrowland ride that was a slow train that toured the whole area. Before the end you go into a tunnel where there’s a bunch of weird lights flashing suddenly. As you leave, you hear “This was the world of Tron”
I hope it’s kinda “just there” like that but 1000 times better. I mean that experience was in 1995 so yep

  • MalKontent Blizzard: The People Mover was great! But I also loved Subatomica

Nick Bailey Jr: Some sort of LotR type world. Sword and sorcery facing a great evil

Kyle Johannessen: Mass Effect 3. 3 specifically. It’s about time the world got wiped out by a super power machine race

Melissa Devlin: I spend all of my spare time either imagining other worlds and realities, or writing them down. So it’s hard to think of other universes that wouldn’t encroach upon my own mental space – at least after a while.
That said, I think a fully immersive game environment would be fun for a lot of people. So what do I think would be accessible, and I’d at least enjoy for an afternoon? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Think about it. Easy access for new players because it’s almost like this world but with comic book tech. You can easily go on missions as a shield agent. It’s on ABC so a lot of people have access to the ideas. And you can still draw in big time Marvel characters because technically they’re in universe.

  • MalKontent Blizzard: And able to choose your Division so you can interact with different parts of the Universe

Alexis George: I’ve honestly fallen in love with the Dystopia Rising universe (the LARP), in all its horror and exhaustion. It’s always really nice to come home to it and see the community there in full immersion. Community has become a big part of world building and immersion to me in all fronts, frankly. With immersive shows like Sleep No More, where you’re 100% isolated and surrounded by staff, the experience may be fun, but it doesn’t compare to being pulled into another world with friends and family. That’s where my brain’s at with it. I think in regards to Blockbuster levels of existing franchises, a good match to what I’m looking for would be Firefly, or maybe Mass Effect. The makeup would be a nightmare.

Rowan Hansen: Honestly, the world from Stardust is one of thr few things I can think of right now. Stormhold had a lot going for it.
Also, one of the Final Fantasies. Honestlu just an FF6 Opera House would probably be pretty great.

Colin Carlisle: Battle/Command School from Ender’s Game.

  • MalKontent Blizzard: With or without the superior officers weeping with joy when you commit genocide?

Jarys Maragopoulos: Unfortunately Star Wars is my favorite Universe…so I will of course have to say “Discworld”. Such a thing would be highly focused on tone, narrative, and dialogue. I am not sure how something so realized on the page could make a visual and interactive transition…..but as difficult as it would be, I don’t think I could turn down an earnest attempt. And the Wizarding World came out of books, though they did borrow especially from the visual style of the movies. Just the chance to walk the streets of Anhk-Morpork, avoid buying anything of CMOT Dibbler, receive an official mugging, and get a chance to investigate along with the Watch would be a dream.

Stephanie Cala: Dragonlance/Krynn! It’s one of my favorite D&D settings and I’d love to be able to play it up.

  • MalKontent Blizzard: Inn of the Last Home as a restaurant!
  • Stephanie Cala: And the bedrooms are tree houses!
  • Mary Anne Butler: As long as I can bring my own Hoopak
  • MalKontent Blizzard: And the lobby ceiling tracks the moons!
  • Stephanie Cala: And what if you could earn your robes at the mage tower?!
  • MalKontent Blizzard: With the Black Tower having a flat screen as the mirror!
  • Mary Anne Butler: Will Fizban be there? Because I want stories and chicken feathers
  • MalKontent Blizzard: And augmented reality glasses
  • MalKontent Blizzard: The big problem I see is Gully Dwarves being problematic from an ability perspective.
  • Mary Anne Butler: But but Bupu
  • MalKontent Blizzard: I know…
  • Korbl Klimecki: If my character’s a Kender* do I get to walk off with props?
    *ok, ok, four kender in a trenchcoat.

Stephanie Cala: Also another really obvious one given that the framework is totally up to interpretation….Doctor Who. There are infinite possibilities for space and design within the TARDIS. It’s canon that there are bedrooms and even a pool.
The Doctor Who Experience does a quick “lets go on an immersive adventure!” for like 20 minutes before you can peruse the museum, so that could be used as a good reference point to start.

Korbl Klimecki: Ooh, what about a BPRD one? You’d get to select a paranormal ability, you go on missions, all of that. Could be fun. But also a lot more niche.

Discworld as others suggested would be a lot of fun, but the difficulty with Discworld is that it’s satirical, and mimicry of satire can go wrong really easily.

I think the idea that comes to my mind that would be most successful, with the most appeal, and the greatest chance of happening would be Magic the Gathering. Hell, it would also pull double duty as market research for WotC, letting them see what planes people selected to “be from” most, what races were most popular, and it would allow them to mine the fanbase for more cosplayers and such to highlight, make faces of the fandom, etc.

Korbl Klimecki
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Korbl Klimecki, professional warlock, is also a writer, baker, slacking artist and inveterate games tinker who occasionally actually plays the games they tinker with. When not lurking in gaming forums or throwing together their latest ill-advised D&D class, they may be found rampaging through the streets of Steelport, or the wilderness of Skyrim. Or possibly pursuing yet another major as if they were trading cards.

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