Exploring the Many Worlds of Transmedia

Posts Tagged "film"

Reality Ends Here: Educational Fun

Reality Ends Here: Educational Fun

By on Dec 5, 2013 in Featured |

ARGs (alternate reality games) are a transmedia genre that are typically run to promote a greater idea or event (e.g., Why So Serious) or for simple fun.  What isn’t common is to see an ARG run for educational purposes.  Reality Ends Here, originally created as Jeff Watson’s Ph.D dissertation project, was designed by Watson, Simon Wiscombe, and Tracy Fullerton, all associated with the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  The game has been run for every freshman class since its creation in 2011.  It combines aspects of alternate reality games with card game mechanics to give students a new, different, and exciting way to begin their time at USC.   The game begins when the “Reality Committee” communicates with students during orientation and given a set of puzzles to solve.  Once those are completed, players can find a secret office where they are sworn in with an oath and given a deck of cards to begin their game.  Students must combine cards to generate creative prompts for media projects, known as Deals, and then create a project based around those prompts.  Their projects are scored by the Reality Committee and given points to be tallied up online.  Students get the opportunities to make new friends very quickly as alliances immediately begin to form, to explore themselves both creatively and academically, and to potentially meet with industry leaders and alumni. The game brings an interesting concept to typical ARGs – putting it in an academic setting for the sake of being academic.  Being a school for the cinematic arts, running this kind of ARG at USC makes perfect sense.  It begins the students’ educational journey into film and media studies through participation in a game that encourages them to be creative and be team players.  They are learning aspects about working in film and media before they even begin to take their classes at the university. Henry Jenkins interviewed the co-conspirators of the game and posted it on his blog, showing that this game was important enough and big enough to constitute the attention of one of the top transmedia analysts.  In the interview, Watson mentions that his goal in creating the game (and in his doctoral research) was to connect theory...

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Transitioning to Comics: The Expanding Frontier

Transitioning to Comics: The Expanding Frontier

By on Dec 5, 2013 in Featured | 1 comment

A growing trend in multiple entertainment franchises such as television, film, and video games is to have comic book continuations/prequels/filler as part of their transmedia campaigns, which relates to tquattle’s article on Language as a Rabbit Hole, since such continuations pull fans into different parts of the story worlds involved. The trend also allows for many different kinds of creators to be involved in a franchise (e.g., a comic artist could be involved in a film franchise), encourages fan curiosity and serves as additional advertising. “Young Justice” (from the recent animated televisions series) and “Heroes” used their companion comics principally for filler content to expand on details presented in each show that were not given enough on-screen time. The “Young Justice” comic filled in gaps between episodes and explained certain references in the show, like Superboy’s hate of monkeys and the Terror Twins. The “Heroes” comics explained the backstories of several characters that appeared only briefly in the television series, like Hana Gitelman, who was referred to by her online alias in the television series and otherwise appears in only one episode of the series. In the graphic novels, we learn that she is actually well known to a large number of the “Heroes” cast, including Mr. Bennet, who recruits her for the Company and trains her for some time, treating her like a second daughter. Numerous franchises use comics as prequel and sequel mediums. “Avatar the Last Airbender” filled in content between its two series with two comic book trilogies. The first trilogy, “The Promise”, takes place shortly after the end of the first television series, and is a sort of epilogue for the show. Following “The Promise,” “The Search” was meant to answer the important question of what happened to Fire Lady Ursa, Zuko and Azula’s mother. This is a question that has haunted ATLA fans for a long time. The recent “Tomb Raider” (2013) video game is slated to have a comic continuation written by Gail Simone and set between that game and the next in the series. Comics can also introduce new fictional aspects for their story worlds that go back into the core franchise. The video game series “Assassin’s Creed” introduced Daniel Cross and...

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