I’ve never been LARPing before.
That’s effectively what Zed Events are offering with their latest attraction, “The Wasteland Experience”. A group of adults carrying fake guns being led through an abandoned shopping mall full of actors – both friendly and unfriendly – whose sole job is to scare the players as much as possible.
Does that sound like fun?
Because it is.
It’s a lot of fun. And I mean a hell of a lot of fun.
The production on show is top-notch. The guns look and feel real, the costuming and make-up are feature film worthy and the environment, whilst at times a little barren, is the perfect environment for scares in the pitch black. The actors are also fantastically committed to their characters and the event is well paced so the experience is never exhausting nor boring.
I was not prepared to just be a ‘passenger’ for this experience and wanted to interact with the world that I was being immersed in. I spoke to my fellow players with dead seriousness and asked our guide several questions which he dutifully answered, helping to spontaneously expand the world/ lore.
When it comes to videogames, I love Survival Horror. From The Last of Us to Alien: Isolation to even the Saw games on the PS3 – it’s one of the genres that I play the most. The mentality that I bring to those games is exactly what I brought to this experience. I counted my rounds, kept my rifle on single shot rather than burst and only fired when I had a clean shot. This meant that I finished the experience without being ‘killed’ or even shot and didn’t empty my starting clip. Perhaps this is too cautious but I was treating this like a real apocalypse and I was determined to survive!
That’s the underlying message of “The Wasteland Experience” – you get out what you put in. I was prepared to immerse myself in their world and they rewarded me with two hours of joy unlike anything I have experienced before.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone. I went by myself but I can easily see how attending in a group would add an extra dynamic to the game. But that does require you to trust your friends and in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, who can you really trust?
Venue postcode: RG1 1NR (Reading)
There is parking available
You must be 16 years of age or over to take part
Ticket Price: £99