Cult Eighties TV show Knightmare is currently enjoying a revival of sorts; thanks to repeats of the show appearing on cable TV channels in the UK and abroad and a theatrical production of the show appearing at last years Edinburgh Fringe, it seems like it’s high time for a nostalgia fuelled convention for the show. Starburst caught up with super fan Alan Boyd to talk about his plans for the world’s first Knightmare Convention 2014, currently looking for funding via crowd funding website, Indie GoGo.
Starburst: Why does the world need a Knightmare Convention?
Alan Boyd: In the 80s and 90s, Knightmare was the show that kids wanted to be on and wanted to be a part of. However, as you'll be aware, only a few teams were lucky enough to ever get to play the dungeon. Jumping to 2014, and the show remains incredibly popular. In fact, you'll recall that Google chose to make it the focal point of Geek Week last year. We therefore want to try and give people to chance to get involved in Knightmare in ways that they couldn't as a kid. In particular, we're hoping to give people what may be their only chance to actually play a room of the Knightmare dungeon. We also want people to have the chance to meet the cast and crew and to ask questions about the show.
What inspired you to organise this?
I was lucky enough to be invited to the filming of the Geek Week episode and while I was there, it became clear that the cast and crew of Knightmare still have a great affection for the show and are very proud of what they accomplished, and rightfully so. Given the additional immense popularity of Knightmare, even today, it seems like everyone was crying out for some kind of celebration of the show and to have a chance to be a part of it once more and a convention seemed like the natural way to proceed.
Is Knightmare still relevant in the modern day?
Well, it's been 20 years since the last episode of Knightmare on our TV screens, and Knightmare continues to have a massive following. If you take a quick look through the YouTube comments for the Geek Week episode you'll see comments from people saying things like "I have no idea what this is, but it's awesome, can we have more?". The fact that the format and the idea still work, are still popular, and are still in demand, so many years after the first episode of Knightmare was shown, clearly shows that Knightmare is relevant to the modern day. There's nothing else out there quite like it and it's clear that it's something that people want.
How is Knightmare different from LARP and stuff like Punchdrunk’s interactive theatre?
I think the big difference with Punchdrunk's interactive theatre is simply the gameplay. Knightmare is first and foremost a game (and a tough one at that). It pits a group of players against a dungeon full of puzzles, traps, riddles, and challenges in which logic, wordplay and knowledge are required to succeed. I think Knightmare is much closer to LARP and I suppose the big difference there is the concept of the dungeoneer. In LARP, you yourself play a single character and are able to wander around as you wish. In Knightmare, your single "avatar" in the dungeon is the dungeoneer who can't see and must be directed by three advisors. The challenge becomes far more about precision movement and communication than about complex plots or strategies, which tend to characterise LARPing.
What are your plans for the convention?
The headline feature is the ability for people to play a room of the dungeon. Personally, I'm hoping that the room will be the corridor of blades, but we'll see. We also have Q&A sessions with the cast and crew, as well as an opportunity for photographs and autographs, etc. We're due to have a showing of "Lords of the Game", which was the US pilot episode for Knightmare, as well as the extended edition of the "Geek Week" episode (including additional rooms and material that were filmed but not included in the episode). David Rowe, the artist of the original Knightmare dungeon, will be giving a presentation showing how the Knightmare dungeon was made on the Saturday. There'll also be music from GamerDisco as well as "Late Night with Lord Fear" - Lord Fear's very own late night chat show. There will also be other smaller presentations, merchandise and stalls, and other things that you'd generally expect at a convention.
Who do you expect to go to this?
Anyone calling themselves a fan of Knightmare or whoever expressed an interest in being on Knightmare should want to go to this. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don't miss out!
Why not just cast C-O-N-V-E-N-T-I-O-N?
Alas, we chose to take the gem and the fishing hook instead of the scroll containing the CONVENTION spell.
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