Eating Real Food In VR With Marshmallow Laser Feast’s ‘Sweet Dreams’
The experimental location-based VR studio serves up a delicious tale of desire at Sundance.
With location-based VR more prevalent than ever, developers have quickly begun searching for fresh new ideas to help set their own experiences apart from a growing pool of competitors.
Major releases, such as Ghostbusters: Dimensions and Arizona Sunshine: LBE Edition, have helped establish a foundation for quality LBE-based entertainment, while recent projects have expanded the medium even further, such as Ralph Breaks VR and its use of scents and real-time hand tracking; not to mention the dozens of other experimental experiences from various genre-defying developers.
Marshmallow Laser Feast — creator of such fantastical immersive mind-trips as Tree Hugger, A Colossal Wave, and ITEOTA — is one such developer. A veteran purveyor of endlessly imaginative projects, the London-based team has once again returned stateside to showcase their latest offering — a location-based mixed reality experience in which you consume actual food and beverages in order to progress.
Available January 25th – February 2nd as part of Sundance Film Festivals New Frontier exhibit, Sweet Dreams takes you on a magical journey through Luscious Delicious Land, a mouth-watering world where a lightning strikes of custard means a storm of champagne rain filling lakes of swan soup. Sufficeth to say, the residents have it awful good. Despite its colorful setting and humorous disposition, however, Sweet Dreams is at its heart a drama warning of the dangers that come alongside desire.
Developed in collaboration with BFI Film Fund, the experience has you taking on the role of Lonny, a long-time citizen of Luscious Delicious Land who’s sampled every single delight her world has to offer. As a result, Lonny has become obsessed with satisfying her powerful desires by trying increasingly rarer delights; this includes squeezing a thousand lobsters into a single shot and injecting butter directly into her veins. Now she has her sights set on the ultimate delicacy: the sun itself.
As you go about their depraved journey towards ultimate satisfaction, they’ll be immersed by a location-based experience that will infatuate all of you senses. Most notably, however, are the various portions in which you actually consume real food and drinks prepared by Mark Garston and Chef Michele Stanco, both whom are former team members of Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Group.
“We’re thrilled to be returning to Sundance, this time with a multi-sensory, untethered VR piece combining sight, sound, taste and touch,” states MLF Co-Founder & Director Robin McNicholas in an official release. “What people experience is a kind of Proustian escape room that you have to eat your way out of!”
For example, upon first entering the experience, you’re tasked with drink a special beverage designed to prevent ingestion while in the “Land of Plenty.” It’s at this point that the room suddenly collapses around you and must walk through an “oesophagus-like” tunnel that leaves behind luminescent traces where ever you touch.
From their its just an eclectic helping of mind-bending psychedelic imagery married with various real-life food. You know, just a typical Marshmallow Laser Feast offering.
“Sweet Dreams uses multi-modal stimuli to catalyse an experience that exposes our debt to desire,” says Director Ersin Han Ersin. “We’re excited to share this first slice, which we plan to grow into a full blown feature-length theatrical production.”
“Our appetite is, despite all efforts to the contrary, essentially destructive,” adds Writer Simon Wroe. “We live in an age of cognitive dissonance: never more conscious of our impact, never more conspicuous in our consumption. A time of sustainability and plastic-wrapped bananas, of food banks and gold-plated burgers. The land of plenty is here, and it’s every bit as joyous and sinister as imagined.”
As previously stated, Sweet Dreams will be available January 25th – February 2nd at Sundance’s New Frontier exhibit.
MLF has also announced plans to expand upon Luscious Delicious Land and its characters with future feature-length interactive content.