Bad Altitude

New work by artist Joe McAlister, supported through the Near Now Fellowship

Posted on 16th February 2021

Written by Near Now

Fast Familiar present Bad Altitude, a puzzle game with a sense of humour, set aboard the world’s most underprepared airline

Help flight attendant Rhys as he wrangles over-demanding VIP passengers, escaped anxiety pets and his own luckless love life. Can you be his wingman? Work with your friends to solve puzzles, crack codes and avert death by discount airline.

Bad Altitude is a cross between an interactive audio drama and an online puzzle game – take your time and enjoy the in-flight entertainment! It’s designed for groups of 2-6 people to play together, from wherever they are.

Remember – not all heroes wear capes. Some of them push the drinks trolley.

How to play

Bad Altitude can be purchased from the Fast Familiar website:

Cost: £20

Each purchase allows 6 devices to access the game. It can be played on a computer or tablet device, but not a phone.

Bad Altitude lasts between 60 and 90 minutes - depending on how quickly puzzles are completed! The recommended age for players is 13 and upwards. The game doesn’t contain any violence or overt sexual references but younger players may find the puzzles too complex or not engaging.

Cast and Credits

Created by: Dan Barnard, Rachel Briscoe, Joe McAlister & Delme Thomas

Additional Idea Development: Al Primrose

Cast: Dan Barnard, Rachel Donovan, Sophie Galustian, Endy Mackay, Delme Thomas, Jamie Zubairi

Image Design: Guy J Sanders

Bad Altitude is supported by Broadway’s Near Now Fellowship, using public funding by Arts Council England.

About Joe McAlister

Computational artist Joe McAlister was a Near Now Fellow 2018-2019.

Through his Fellowship, Joe aimed to explore our growing relationship with "AI" personalities and how the proliferation of branded "chatbot" personas has changed our relationship with technology. Joe studied the way our interactions can be the catalyst for sharing emotions with such "autonomous", "emotionless" entities through the embedding of custom AI within bespoke artwork.

Joe initially collaborated with Near Now Fellow Rachel Briscoe on another Near Now-supported project, playable theatre piece The Justice Syndicate. This lead to an ongoing collaborative partnership and the formation of Fast Familiar in early 2020.

Joe's work focuses on themes encompassing artificial intelligence, metadata and embodied interaction, taking a particular interest in how technology can be used to aid progressive discussion. These subjects are approached using a variety of mediums, both new and old, creating coherent pieces that seamlessly blend technology with art.

About Fast Familiar

Fast Familiar make artworks which are participatory, playful and political.

They are a group of artists from different backgrounds who design audience-centric experiences which often utilise ‘digital technology’.

Fast Familiar’s lead artists are Dan Barnard, Joe McAlister and Rachel Briscoe.


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