400 people in a room approaching midnight at the Fringe and each and every one spends almost the entire hour staring at their phone, sounds dreadful right? Wrong. Wifi Wars was only in Edinburgh for one run (plus an extra special radio pilot show the following night) but as soon as I found out I knew that this would be how I wanted to end my Fringe week in Edinburgh.
The show is essentially a room full of people competing with and against each other across a range of games
beamed into your handheld device using the technical wizardry created by Rob Sedgebeer who spends the show sat
behind his laptop making sure that everything that we are enjoying works (or at least works as best as it can). By and
large it does (“All hail King Rob!”) and we play games ranging from a multi (and I mean multi) player version of Pong,
Track and Field and Doom, ending the night with a huge version of the (possibly) very first mobile phone game Snake.
Steve McNeil (from TV’s Go 8 Bit) holds the show together presenting each of the challenges, explaining what we will
do each time and generally bantering with the audience between games and encouraging each of us to do the best
for our teams, lest your face be put on the screen shaming you for your poor performance. He is clearly enjoying
himself as much as we are – in between praying that the tech will work – and his enthusiasm rubs off onto the crowd who are having the most fun a gaming geek can have in the dark after midnight.
There are a couple of moments of the tech not working quite how our hosts would like but the evening is a success and when we are allowed an added few minutes at the end of the show everyone is delighted, my own delight near matched by seeing my name up on the top 10 leaderboard more than once.
Wifi Wars isn’t at the Fringe again this year (let’s all hope for a longer run next year) but you can catch them on tour throughout the UK and at the Royal Institution at Christmas time, if they are coming anywhere near you I suggest you do so.
Pleasance Dome (Venue 179)
Friday 10th August