In 2016, Ben McKenzie and the team at Pop Up Playground opened Small Time Criminals, an immersive game which let you feel like you were burgling a corrupt investment bank. It was a hit with 2,300 players over twelve months, and built on the “escape room” phenomenon: play spaces where players are “locked” in and must solve puzzles to escape. Ben shares some of the secrets and stories behind live game design, and Small Time Criminals in particular.

Bio: Ben McKenzie is a performer, writer, game designer and nerd for all seasons. He’s written and performed stand-up, sketch comedy, theatre and late night museum tours. He co-created time travel comedy Night Terrace, now playing on BBC radio, and co-hosts the monthly Terry Pratchett book club podcast Pratchat. His games include the hit live bank heist adventure Small Time Criminals, Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown on PlayStation VR, and the upcoming Amateur Hour Apocalypse, a tabletop roleplaying game. His favorite dinosaur is Stegosaurus.

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