Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

Posts by Danger

The World’s First Alternate Reality Game

The World’s First Alternate Reality Game

By on Dec 7, 2013 in Featured |

Transmedia storytelling has recently been gaining popularity with the development of the “online world” as well as our cultural shift towards digital entertainment. For the most part, storytellers and novelist everywhere have done a phenomenal job with creating lifelike and relatable adventures for us to enjoy from afar, taking solace in the knowledge that our only job is to continue reading. But, what would happen if that was not our only job? What happens if your failure to act in some way lead to the death of your favorite character? Imagine. A story that changes based on choices with limitless outcomes that your must pick in order for it to progress. Take that a step further. Throw in several thousand other readers whose decisions carry equal weight alongside your own. You are faced with problems that you cannot solve without their help. Even you choose not to act, that still impacts the narrative, even without your knowledge. It becomes difficult to differentiate between reality and fantasy doesn’t it? Stories like this are currently in existence and have been for a number of years under the title of an Alternate Reality Game or ARG for short. An ARG is a form of digital or transmedia storytelling that is largely interactive with the readers or “players.” ARGs tend to be somewhat consuming, blurring the lines between both reality and fantasy by attempting to convince players that “This is not a game,” a term coined and abbreviated “TINAG.” Many people tend to think that the TINAG is something that is something that is morally questionable, as it purposely misleads the players, yet at the same time something that is necessary for gameplay, as most books or video games do not “break the fourth wall” so to speak.   As all of this is such a complex concept, it is completely understandable to wonder, “Who exactly came up with this massively complex and deep story structure?” In order to answer that question, one must look back a full twelve years to the work of such names as The Cloudmakers, The Puppeteers, and Haley Joel Osment.   The year is 2001 and A.I. Artificial Intelligence is the year’s most anticipated Sci-fi film. Steven Spielburg fans watched in eager expectation while the...

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Alternate Reality Advertising: ARGs Real Uses

Alternate Reality Advertising: ARGs Real Uses

By on Oct 15, 2013 in Featured | 1 comment

It is no secret that viral marketing is becoming more and more popular across the spectrum (if you really need proof go check Facebook and Twitter and tell me when the Captain America movie is coming out). Really it is no surprise that companies are taking advantage of the mass social media movement currently occurring across the globe , but what about the companies that are ahead of the curve? What is the next step in trying to prove that our toothpaste is better than their toothpaste?   Some advertising agencies are exploring the options that are being presented by the dark horses, known as the Alternate Reality Games or “ARG”. ARGs rely on a narrative being told through the medium of the real world (popular examples include the internet or certain unadvertised events across the country). Since ARGs are still so new, it seems as if they are still trying to find their place in the online world, yet their very nature suggests that advertising is the perfect fit. The idea behind an ARG is very similar to that of an everyday video game. Solve this puzzle, complete this challenge and you are rewarded with several new puzzles and challenges and a little bit more of the unfolding story. ARGs are very closely related to video games in the sense that they reward the players with new puzzles and new parts of the unfolding narrative, but there is a crucial difference between the two. Video games exist primarily to be sold to make a profit for the producer. As of right now, ARGs are a mostly cost-free experience, meaning that people do not have any particularly strong motivation to produce them. Unless…   Over the past years, some advertising agencies have been attempting to incorporate the use of ARG’s into their marketing strategies. Examples of this include Bungee’s “I Love Bees” campaign or Warner Bros. and DC Comics “Why So Serious?” (Information on these and several others can be found at this article.)     These marketing tools tend to bait the consumer in with the prospect some sort of vague puzzle or clue, leading them usually towards a website where they are given further clues. These clues tend to be the beginnings of a secret...

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