I wanted to introduce to you tonight to Transmedia Storytelling or Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and how you can leverage them.Before I get to Transmedia Storytelling, though, I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself and my company. I have been involved with gaming and the gaming community for more than 15 years, and, more specifically, with this real-world gaming community for the past 3 years. I am also a leader in the technical community, having founded a local technical users group and been its President for more than 4 years.My company, ClearBox Media, is currently working on a new game, The Human Mosaic Project, which takes elements of ARGs and leverages them for local businesses, while being cost-effective.What are we going to see today?First, I will introduce ARGs and Transmedia Storytelling.Next, I will show some possible ways that local businesses could utilize this new immersive experience.Finally, I will show you why local businesses would want to do this.
Transmedia Storytelling is a new way to tell a story using multiple media platforms.These can include:BooksTV & MoviesWeb
A more complex answer might include things like: A giant scavenger hunt where players have to collect items or perform tasks to win A mystery that involves puzzle-solving, finding clues and deciphering them Interacting with characters from the game being playedThis can happen through phone calls, voice mails, texting, twitter, email, instant messaging, etc.
But first, where did this idea of Transmedia Storytelling come from?The short answer – games, more specifically, Alternate Reality Games, otherwise known as ARGs.
ARGs – the beginningHere’s a brief history of ARGs:First (major) ARG was created for the film A.I. and it was called “The Beast” This was an elaborate Murder Mystery played out across hundreds of Web sites, and utilizing email messages, faxes, fake ads, and voicemail messages Written by Sci-Fi/Fantasy author Sean Stewart (you might not know who he is, but the important part is that he’s an author)Majestic, although it was spawned before “The Beast”, came out after its conclusion It involved phone calls, emails and other media that engaged players in a multiplatform narrative This was the first subscription-based ARG It was eventually cancelled due to lack of players (which may have been the result of bad timing, the subscription model, and/or the Sept. 11 attacks)The first successful independent game that had “first-followers” and was created by former players of “The Beast” “Lockjaw” was the beginning of a movement towards Transmedia Storytelling
I Love Bees was used to promote the Halo 2 launch in 2004.It involved an elaborate story involving an unsuspecting amateur System Administrator of the ilovebees.comWeb siteThe story was told through the Web site and a radio play which was broken into 30 – 60-second segmentsPlayers could hear the radio play segments over payphones around the worldPlayers had to find out where and when to be by finding and deciphering clues hidden in the Web site and the real worldPlayers also had the opportunity to affect the story line as well as interact with characters from the story (and become part of the story)I love Bees was innovative and game-changing because it infiltrated the real world in numerous waysOn TV during the presidential debate at ASU in 2004Through payphonesReal conversations with the voice actors via the radio playIt also attracted a large audience to the Halo universe and story500,000 returned to the site every time the pages were updatedMore than 3 million visitors viewed the site over 3 monthsThousands of active players around the world
What are some key attributes of ARGs?-Puzzle-solving -Online Puzzles -Cryptic messages that need to be decodedBlend reality and fictionCharacters are in theirworld, and you (as a player) are visiting that worldThey communicate with you through email, voicemail, phone, texting, Instant Messaging, etc.Clues and puzzles left in the real-world (also known as dead drops)Cooperative playTypically involves players working together to solve clues, puzzles, and share information
Perplex CityMassive world-wide treasure hunt to find a mysterious cube from an alternate dimension$200,000 prize to the person who found itSelf-supporting ARG by selling card/puzzle packsLevel 26A book with cyber-bridges (movies that bridge between chapters)Has the potential for longer-lasting storytellingWorld Without Oil ARG centered on a very serious near-future scenario – a world without oilFunded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to bring awareness to a serious issueTV & Movie tie-insMany, many movie and TV shows used Transmedia Storytelling to provide background, tie-ins, continuing story, and season bridging. One of my favorites – the Dark Knight (“Why So Serious?” campaign)Another favorite is the Lost TV series campaign – “Lost Experience”
So, what’s Transmedia Storytelling? It’s a super-set and sub-set of ARGs, in that it can contain all the attributes of an ARG, plus more Or be simply a story told through multiple media Or a mixture of the two
But how can local businesses use Transmedia Storytelling (or ARGs) to promote themselves and their brand?Just because it’s been used in the past to promote big ticket items like video games and movies, doesn’t mean that small and local businesses are left out in the cold.On a local level, I think that it is possible that smaller businesses could utilize Transmedia Storytelling to: Promote special events by using longer lead-in games Promote the local neighborhood and community through regular games and/or stories that run on a regular basis (which is where ClearBox Media fits) Cooperate with other local businesses to self-promote (again where ClearBox Media fits)
Why use Transmedia Storytelling? Deeper engagement with your customers (and potential customers) Provides a positive and unique brand experience, not just for the players, but for their friends Generates (somewhat) free word of mouth
In conclusion....Transmedia Storytelling (and ARGs) provides a new way to play games Which can help introduce players to local businessesFinally, when everything is about the conversation and interaction, Transmedia Storytelling can help your business engage with customers on a deeper level than traditional advertising can.
Thank you for your time this evening.If you would like to investigate on your own you can go to the ARGNet news site or the Unfiction Forums for discussing ARGs and TransmediaIf you have any more questions I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe game that we will be beta-launching in a few months and is called The Human Mosaic Project. If you are interested in learning more about this, or want to sign up for the beta, I’ll be available after this presentation.
Transmedia Storytelling Or Alternate Reality Games and how to leverage them
What is Transmedia Storytelling? Books TV & Movies Web
Transmedia Storytelling: A more complex answer Giant scavenger hunt Clues, puzzles and cryptography Acting and interacting with characters