Sleep No More Is My New Favorite Videogame

Last Saturday my wife and I saw Sleep No More in New York City. It’s a mostly silent film noir style adaptation of Macbeth as a play/dance piece. There are no seats. Instead you follow the performers around the space, which is four floors of a converted hotel. You can walk through nearly all of the sets in full, and you can more or less go where you want. You don’t even have to follow any performers at all if you don’t want to.

I really loved it and I’m already planning to go back in the future. As I was thinking about why I loved it, I realized that it tickles the same part of my brain as some videogames. In particular, I think it’s a lot like the experience of playing Dishonored and similar stealth games.

When I play a game like Dishonored, there are two aspects of it I enjoy the most. The first is simply exploring the spaces that the game gives you. I find it incredibly rewarding to form a map of a new space in my head, and to look into all the nooks and crannies for fun visual details. Sleep No More lets you do exactly the same thing. You can wander around the whole space, which is fairly large and filled with small visual details. I honestly think I could spend many hours just looking through the rooms without the performers there.

The other fun part of Dishonored is observing the stories of the characters around you. If you’re playing the game in stealth mode1 you will spend a fair bit of time following the NPCs around, listening to their conversations and learning their routines. Simply doing this and staying out of sight is really fun. Sleep No More gives you a similar experience, though you don’t need to stay out of sight.

So I’m definitely planning to attend Sleep No More again, and this time I’m aiming for 100% completion with all achievements!

  1. This is the only proper way to play it in my opinion. ↩︎