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Arts and Entertainment

Weird Board And Video Game Festival Coming To Westwood

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If you're in the mood to play some weird games that use live cacti as controllers or require you to paint with a virtual reality penis, then the perfect festival for you is just around the corner. The UCLA Game Arts Festival is happening on November 18 at the Hammer Museum. The over 40 games here are a little different from your standard RPGs and first-person shooters. These games are interactive, artsy and more than a little bizarre.

UCLA Design Media Arts professor Eddo Stern said in a statement, "Several themes we are highlighting in this year's Festival include: a selection of game projects examining the politics around gender, immigration and violence, the relationship between food and games, experiments in theatre and gaming, and games in the context of contemporary art."

The food games will require a separate ticket, which can be bought at the festival. The other games are free to play. You can swing by the board game lounge to play creative games about smoking cigarettes, shopping at IKEA with your lover and trying to escape Disneyland without all your children contracting measles.

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There will, of course, be video games too. Pin Pon is a trippy game that looks like table tennis on acid, where players use leap motion controllers to try to bounce objects off their end of the table and into their opponent's. The game is meant to simulate online dating. In the racing game Sneaky Cactus, players will control their characters by using live cacti as controllers.

For those interested in fresh VR games, Classroom Aquatic is about trying to cheat on your test by stealthily peeping your peers' answers. You can also distract your peers by throwing objects. Oh, and your peers are all dolphins.

There's also an intense, split-screen game of Hide and Seek that reminds one of Cape Fear or The Most Dangerous Game. It's called Bad Blood, and can be particularly disorienting.

There will also be a performance from new media artist Jeremy Bailey called "Penis Paint," which appears to involve using a virtual penis to ejaculate paint everywhere. You can also take a look at No Loser, a simple art installation where you use a coin to scratch shiny paint from a wall, similar to a scratch-off lottery ticket. Underneath are a variety of messages, such as, "I don't care about your f*cking blog."

Guests will also get a chance to check out the hands-on Line Wobbler and VR experience Meadow, which we got to play at IndieCade in Culver City. Plus, there will be a roving arcade, worn as a backpack by a person who will be roaming the festival.

The festival will have food and drinks on hand, plus a number of films on projection screens and live music, puppetry, theatre and performance art.

UCLA Game Arts Festival is on Wednesday, November 18 from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at the Hammer Museum. It's free.