Sundance Film Festival isn’t happening this year — not in person, anyway — so creators are finding new ways to showcase their creations. The folks at Disney, for instance, are offering an interactive short through NVIDIA’s GeForce Now, a streaming service that’s usually focused on blockbuster games. Any user can search for Baymax Dreams of Fred’s Glitch and experience the charming but all-too-brief adventure, which focuses on the cast from Big Hero 6. As you might have guessed, Baymax is suffering from an adorable but destructive ‘glitch’ creature. With a little help from Fred, it’s your job to contain the threat and and repair Baymax’s programming.
Throughout the short, you’ll see a variety of markers that let you scrub away the glitch. They feel like quick time events (QTEs) — tiny moments of interactivity that stops the experience from becoming too stale. According to Nvidia, they’re a little more complicated than that. “These elements allow the audience to do more than just choose the path of the story — it gives them agency,” the company explained in a blog post. “Characters in the episode can respond positively or negatively depending on the speed and efficiency of participation.” (Maybe I should play it a few times...)
If you’re intrigued, the short is available to stream now on GeForce Now. The interactive portions are touch-only, though, and the entire experience is limited to iPhone and iPad via Safari (play.geforce.now). The Disney-made experiment is part of the New Frontier Alliance Showcase, an exhibition at Sundance dedicated to cutting-edge forms of storytelling. Due to the pandemic, the core exhibition is being hosted inside a virtual destination that can be accessed with or without a VR headset. If you want access to that experience, though, you’ll need to fork out at least $25.