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Star Tripping in a Giant Space Cruiser

That one time the Hayden Planetarium became a giant video game.
Janus Rose
New York, US
January 31, 2012, 12:00am

Filled with a renewed sense of child-like wonder (and perhaps a few space martinis), a mixed crowd of lucky star gazers arrived at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City last Thursday to experience the cosmos through a lens like no other: videogames.

It was the one night only premiere of Space Cruiser, a game installation presented by renowned indie games collective Babycastles that turned the planetarium into a giant virtual space ship. Greeted by a cocktail reception set to brassy space folk anthems by One Ring Zero and surrounded by a similarly-themed arcade, attendees of the sold-out event piled into the atrium’s rear elevators to reach the main attraction: a 200+ person multiplayer game set inside the planetarium’s 70-foot wide star dome.

Inside the darkened sphere, participants floated precariously through an asteroid field, attempting to reach the blue hyperspace gate at its center. Four control consoles lay at the center of dome, requiring individual pilots to control the pitch, roll, yaw and thrust of the virtual craft. It’s a delicate operation — players must vocally coordinate the precise maneuvers necessary to navigate the treacherous field while the disembodied voice of the ship’s computer (voiced by Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields) mocks their efforts in a charming, GLaDOS-like fashion.

Read the rest at Motherboard.