Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins will do anything you tell him to. So you sent him to pretend to pinch a painting.
What exactly is an immersive art heist experience? Well, imagine sneaking around like you’re in a real-life version of the videogame ‘Splinter Cell’. Imagine desperately trying to disable CCTV cameras before you’re seen. Oh, and imagine that your only protection from the security patrol bearing down on you is a cleaner’s tabard and a flimsy story about being a contractor. Got it? Good. Now stop imagining, numbnuts. You’ve got a bloody multimillionpound theft to pull off. ‘Smash the wall in!’ yells a man in a trenchcoat as he hands me a sledgehammer. I oblige, climb through a hole and begin Heist: a game where you try to nick a painting as part of an eight-person team. A game that’s totally brilliant. But not easy. ‘Oi! What are you doing?’ barks a guard, finding me elbow deep in files marked ‘security archive’.
‘Dusting!’ I squeak, pulling out a J Cloth and wiping lamely at a wall. ‘In a restricted area?’ ‘Dust gets everywhere. We’ve had, erm… complaints.’ ‘From who?’ ‘Erm, asthmatics?’ A blowtorch glare sears my face. ‘All right. But if I catch you up here again, there’ll be trouble.’ He leaves, and I join some of my team-mates in what my map says is the room with the safe. We rifle through boxes. We scour alcoves.
And when our team-mates who are watching CCTV footage in a control room hiss ‘Security are coming!’ through our walkie-talkies, we scurry for cover so fast we could make it into ‘Guinness World Records’. Though only if it had a category for ‘hurtling across a room like a drop-kicked chihuahua’. A security patrol comes and goes. I exhale, and suddenly realise that I’m looking at the painting! This is it! What we’ve been waiting for! We grab it, we leg it to the stairwell, we fling the door open… and walk into a security guard. ‘You again!’ ‘Yep, just doing more cleaning.’ ‘You’re holding a priceless artwork!’ ‘Would you believe I’m treating it for mildew?’ ‘No I wouldn’t!’ Game over. Now I just wish I could do it all again…
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