Earlier this week we slightly lost our shit when we found out that The Crystal Maze is set to come to London in the form of an interactive, live game which Londoners CAN ACTUALLY PLAY. Yes. It seems that mirror mazes, jumbled puzzles, watery plummets and screaming incoherently at our soggy friends as they fall off rotating walkways are only a few months away.
Cue much excitement and a few tear-inducing nostalgia trips on YouTube (this one’s our favourite):
The details have previously been kept under wraps but we do finally have some more information for you.
One of our concerns was that the project would never come to fruition due to copyright infringement. But we've been told that the company behind everything, Little Lion Entertainment, is working with both with the presiding rights company, Zodiak Rights, and also The Crystal Maze creator, Malcolm Hayworth. So all looks tickety-boo on that front.
Organisers also told us they're involved with the former maze master himself Richard O’Brien, to “make sure they create an original and truly authentic and immersive Crystal Maze experience”. This prompts us to ask an even more important question: will O’Brien be donating any of his leopard-print bomber jackets to the production? We can only hope.
Our next concern was the funding. Even our love for the show can’t disguise the fact that the set was somewhat, um, shoddy. But that doesn’t mean that recreating the four separate themed “zones”, a multitude of interactive games and a Crystal Dome should come cheap. And it doesn’t. Crowdfunding for bringing The Crystal Maze to London opens today with an eye-watering target of £500,000. Little Lion Entertainment told us this will go towards “building the best set possible”. *UPDATE: the original crowdfunding target was reached in a week, but is still ongoing with various 'stretch goals' added*
We’re sure that they’ll receive signification commercial backing, but there’s no doubt that this project also relies heavily on public funding. As founder Tom Lionetti-Maguire says: “Our job is to lovingly recreate the magic of the Crystal Maze, but to do this we need your help… Because the Crystal Maze was always about the contestants and by bringing it to Indiegogo we put its future squarely in your hands”.
But your money won’t just buy them a bucket of sand for the Aztec Zone, it will also buy you a ticket as Indiegogo works on a ‘perk’ system where backers receive a gift in return for their financial support. £25 gets you the chance to "test out" some of the zones before opening, while £30 nabs you an early bird ticket (although don't expect these to last for long as over half of the 750 early bird tickets have already been snapped up after only 20 minutes). Take a look at the crowdfunding page for the full list of 'perks'.
So that’s where we’re at now. But let’s look forward to the future: money backed, target reached and ticket in hand, what exactly will contestants be letting themselves in for?
Four teams of eight will be permitted to enter the maze at any one time. The Crystal Dome is the first port of call and there’s the opportunity to zip up your jumpsuit, size up your opposition and drop some crafty banana skins before getting started. The teams will be guided through each zone — Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic — by their own personal Maze Master (hopefully in aforementioned leopard print jacket), competing in games designed to to challenge their intelligence, skill and physical ability. If you let your team down by failing a challenge you’ll be locked-in. Maybe forever. And probably outcast from society, as you justly deserve.
Crystals collected (or not), the teams will meet up again to face the Crystal Dome. We're told the entire experience should last for around 1 hour 45 minutes. Creators are clear that the maze will be played just as the contestants did on the original show and, direct quote here: “will be everything audiences remember and more”. Hopefully this guy’s invite gets lost in the post:
Being a live event, a bar and street food stalls will be available on a viewing platform so you can enjoy your post-show report with a quesadilla or non-alcoholic beer or something.
The location is still up in the air, although it will be central London, and currently the team is aiming for an October/November 2015 launch. And then, well, start the fans.
Keep up to date with The Crystal Maze project via their website, Twitter feed or Facebook page. To check out the crowdfunding campaign, visit their Indiegogo page here.