Immersive Narratives

The presentation this week on interactive and immersive narrative was very informative. The group that presented had a well put together and cohesive presentation. They only briefly went over a few their examples, some of which I would have liked to see more of; however the ones that they did go into more depth with were great examples.

The best example they discussed was “I Love Bees”. This narrative was created by Halo 2 required full audience participation. The trailer for the game was released along with the site ilovebees.com. Fans would go to this site expecting information about the game but then found something much bigger. Coordinates of phone booths were released and messages were given at these places. Each time a phone was answered another clue was unlocked.

Through this, the game was able to build excitement about Halo but also immerse the fans in a real-world simulated game to unlock these clues. “Just as storytellers of old made what, when and how much they told, conditional upon the audience’s ‘good listening’, in order to heighten the tension, entertainment level and mental participation; so now interactive stories solicit audience participation in the story and thus help them to more intensely internalize the material.” (Vorderer 2003, p.177).

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Another great example of an immersive narrative was the game “The Beast” that went along with the release of the movie “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”. This game, The Beast, had clues or entry points within its promotion surrounding a fictional character and the death of her friend.

Players were led through a network of websites, created by Warner Bros where they found fake names, clues, given new promotional material, and new events surrounding the film. This was unprecedented for any films in hollywood and was one of the most influential early alternate reality games.

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In this day and age having just a movie or documentary is not enough. The form has to go beyond that and engage the audience through interaction or immersion to be really successful. You can see this starting in reboots even, like pokemon. Just a couple years ago they launched an interactive and augmented reality sort of app that was wildly successful and reignited a fan group while simultaneously starting a new one.

In terms of my project and where I want to take it, an immersive experience on this scale is not feasible. The amount of planning and forward thinking these examples entail is crazy and I have trouble wrapping my head around what I could successfully do in just 12 weeks. I do however really love puzzles and mysteries, so thinking into the future and how I can incorporate an interactive or immersive elements could really help to propel a project from good to great.

-Bec

Vorderer, P , Knoblach, S & Schramm, H  2001, Does entertainment suffer from interactivity? The impact of watching an interactive tv movie on viewers’ experience of entertainment, Media Psychology 3, pp. 343–363.

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