SXSW: Oculus Rift Brings 'Game of Thrones' to Life

12:05 PM PST 03/10/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
Courtesy of HBO
An image from the "Ascend the Wall" experience.

Attendees ascend the Wall as part of an immersive "Game of Thrones" exhibit in Austin.

HBO is bringing Game of Thrones to life for fans during a five-day event in Austin during South by Southwest.

A traveling exhibition featuring more than 100 props and costumes from the popular cable series has set up at the festival from March 9 to 11. Game of Thrones: The Exhibition debuted in New York and will stop in eight cities during its nine-month tour.

The biggest draw in Austin has been a virtual reality experience from Irvine, Calif., technology firm Oculus VR.

Using the company's virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, exhibition attendees are thrown into the world of Westeros. The brief Ascend the Wall experience places the participators at Castle Black, home of the show's Night's Watch. They then ride an elevator to the top of the Wall for a battle with the Wildlings.

The experience is so realistic that all participants must sign a waiver form before entering the prop elevator. It even had Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) screaming during a private event held at the exhibition on Friday in Austin.

HBO worked with visual effects firm Framestore and experiential marketing agency Relevent to create Ascend the Wall, which first debuted in New York in January. The experience has been expanded since its debut.

The exhibition also featured the debut of Catch the Throne: The Mixtape, which features Game of Thrones-inspired tracks from Common, Big Boi and others. Attendees could listen to the tracks at one of the exhibition's stations.

Common performed an exclusive show at the venue on Friday night to celebrate the mixtape's release. Game of Thrones actors Gwendoline Christie (Brienne) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor) joined Williams for the festivities.

The fourth season of Game of Thrones premieres April 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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