RATING: 5 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: Not Time-based
Surgery is now in session. The doctor needs your help extracting a few choice items from the bodies. The catch? These patients haven’t been put to sleep and aren’t happy to comply.
A twisted and likely unlicensed surgeon recruits your team to assist with his operations. At first, he seems overzealous, but non-threatening. However, the blood splattered around the room doesn’t add to his credibility. He thrusts a clipboard with anatomical diagrams into the hand of the most organized member of the group. He hurriedly instructs everyone that each body around the room has strange items buried inside gashes and gouges. Sheets are pulled from the bodies revealing very awake and very angry patients.
This is live Operation. And the patients fight back.
The Event was shrouded in mystery from its first announcement. The only information given was a duration, the team-based nature of it, and that there would be scored gameplay. We were hesitant at first to buy a ticket with so little details, but after hearing some overly positive and vague chatter we took the dive.
It was the best decision we could make.
Re-imagining Operation into a competitive and live action scenario alone would have been interesting, but adding the additional horror element of living patients brought it to a different level. Taking groups into the dark and twisted operation was an actor playing the frenzied doctor and two actors playing awake patients. They fought with and screamed at guests when trying to retrieve items. All three actors made this game into the incredible experience that it was. The doctor quipped and prodded at guests to up the intensity of the space and try to break guests’ concentration. The patients brought a raw physicality with their fighter personalities. The Event utilized actors in the best of ways.
The Event took place in the back room of Sinister Pointe’s Curiosities shop. This space was designed to be a multi-use area for rotating mini-experiences, and The Event was its first run. After being led through a themed hallway twisting back behind the shop we arrived at a large and ominous door.
Passing through revealed a dimly lit room covered in plastic sheeting with covered bodies on morgue tables scattered around. In the center of the room was a metal medical table covered in tools and devices to poke, prod, and pull out any assortment of objects depending on the use case.
Part of the overall scenic quality was the excellent makeup on the performers. With help from the limited light in the room, the patients were in believable enough body prosthetics that allowed guests to suspend disbelief just enough to get lost in the idea that they were digging in the insides of another human.
Every action taken carries a point value and making mistakes can cost players time. Just like in the board game operation, “touching the sides” is a no-go. In The Event, mistakes both subtracted available time by way of speeding up the decreasing game clock and further enraging the patients. Even if players were as precise with the pliers and pincers as a top surgeon, the patients still took opportunities to protect themselves.
In one instance I was trying to pull something from a patient’s stomach but he kept pushing away my arms and flailing around preventing me from having the precision I needed. I had to call over help to actually restrain the patient while I worked on retrieving the item—a scenario I never expected to be in.
Beyond just retrieving every item out of the bodies, there was a medical chart to be filled out detailing where every item came from and also logging the vital information of the patient’s identity. This added an additional challenge because four patients were being worked on simultaneously. I took the responsibility of charting out everything and spent a lot of time bouncing from table to table and making notes.
For everything correctly filled out there were additional points to be had. Incorrect answers meant a deduction of points. There were also some puzzle-like items to solve for additional points.
Sinister Pointe is known in Southern California for their unique twists on the standard haunted house formula. In the past, they’ve experimented with different group sizes, full show stops, and interactive elements with performers. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that they would eventually fully break out of the mold to create a completely interactive standalone off-season show.
This game of operation is among our favorite live gaming experiences we’ve ever had. Twisting a well-known children’s game into an adult focused adventure, incorporating actors in an engaging way, and creating multi-faceted gameplay made The Event unlike anything else currently out there.
The Event was fully point based and after the tally was made at the end of the run, our team placed second on the leaderboard, only 50 points behind the first place team.
Venue: Sinister Pointe
Location: Brea, California
Number of Games: 1
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 20 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: This limited time attraction has ended its run.