THIS IS REALITY 2000 is a “Big Brother” style interactive zoom gameshow designed to bring together friends in a night of “nostalgic noughties references, videos, trivia and a pumping Y2K – themed soundtrack”. An aptly named ‘House Master’ guides groups from 4 – 12 players through a ‘day to day’ schedule reminiscent of Big Brother with challenges, secret objectives, votes, and many more engaging surprises.
Perhaps the most unique and exciting aspect to the experience is the brilliant anticipation through preparation. From inviting your friends to choosing one of 12 epic characters with their kinks and outrageous wavey garms to the numerous drinks references from the Y2K. This all accumulates to a great laugh as everyone arrives ready to impress with their best – or worst – character accent or bizarre over the top energetic/ tipsy interpretation.
This carries on throughout the night as the prompts and objectives given by the ‘House Master’ are explored together causing humorous petty conflict and funny fails as each party goer attempts to be the popular house mate hoping to take away a whopping sum of ‘money’ and so much more pride at completing their objectives and making a fool out of themselves/ their friends.
The technical aspect is somewhat fiddly with a few links demanding access to a laptop alongside a smartphone and navigating voting pages alongside the general guideline information, but this is perhaps unavoidable for a form of entertainment with so much engaging activity making it worth playing. It is no different than other games played by groups of friends such as ‘Jackbox’.
The inclusivity of the game is genuinely impressive. The atmosphere and interrelations between players are completely inclusive regardless of gender, race, sexual preference and identity. At no point is the game geared towards reducing any individuals experience in a toxic manner and it always feels like a safe space which can often be overlooked when trying to design an activity that everyone can participate in.
The ‘House Master’, in this instance being Oscar Hewitt, is non-intrusive yet effective at guiding the group through a story with a clear goal and comforting voice reminding us we are not alone and there to help if there are any concerns or queries along the way. This is particularly innovative as they use the ‘chat’ option in zoom to encourage certain activities and behaviours that create raucous madness. The element of surprise and secrecy works well from the get-go as each player is given a link to a document to read prior to the game – similar to a murder mystery – involving costume and attributes; but also another document containing secret objectives only to be opened during the gameshow that creates brilliant and spontaneous interaction between friends.
All in all, it is a very relaxed and imaginative way to enjoy a night with friends over zoom when you’ve exhausted most quizzes on the internet and want something a bit different with some nostalgic influence and a chance to become a quirky character and let your inner creative diva out!
More info and tickets here
Review: Sebastian Calver