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The Pixel Lab 2015 | Extending story through play - Nick Fortugno

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Nick Fortugno looks at the way in which games and gameplay can be used to extend, monetise, and even incubate brands and stories. By looking at successful examples of transmedia that incorporate play into their storyworlds, Nick discusses how games create aesthetics and how that practice
can be applied to larger brand strategies. From there, the talk explores how gameplay can fit into a larger transmedial strategy in a number of rules, from expanding the story’s access to new audiences to serving as an experimental platform for brand-new story properties.

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The Pixel Lab 2015 | Extending story through play - Nick Fortugno

  1. 1. Extending Story through Play Nicholas Fortugno confiden'al  
  2. 2. Ques'ons   •  How  do  games  (or  interac've  elements  in   general)  tell  stories?   •  How  do  games  (etc.)  fit  as  part  of  a   transmedial  ecosystem?    
  3. 3. Games  and  Aesthe'cs  
  4. 4. Quick  Play  Example  
  5. 5. Twenty  Ques'ons,  Variant  1   •  Break  up  into  groups  of  about  five.   •  Pick  a  judge.  The  judge  picks  a  noun:  a  person,  a  place,  or  a   thing.  It  cannot  be  a  proper  noun.     •  The  rest  of  the  players  try  to  figure  out  the  object  by  asking   the  judge  yes/no  ques'ons.     –  The  judge  can  return  a  ques'on  to  the  players  if  s/he  feels  it   can’t  be  answered  or  isn’t  relevant.     •  The  judge  keeps  track  of  ques'ons  asked.     •  A  guess  is  a  ques'on,  phrased  “Is  it  a….?”  If  the  judge   answers  this  ques'on  with  a  yes,  the  players  win.     •  The  players  have  20  ques'ons  to  guess  the  noun   successfully.   •  They  have  infinite  'me  to  make  their  guess.    
  6. 6. Twenty  Ques'ons,  Variant  2   •  Break  up  into  groups  of  about  five.   •  Pick  a  judge.  The  judge  picks  a  noun:  a  person,  a  place,  or  a   thing.  It  cannot  be  a  proper  noun.     •  The  rest  of  the  players  try  to  figure  out  the  object  by  asking   the  judge  yes/no  ques'ons.     –  The  judge  can  return  a  ques'on  to  the  players  if  s/he  feels  it   can’t  be  answered  or  isn’t  relevant.     •  The  judge  keeps  track  of  ques'ons  asked.     •  A  guess  is  a  ques'on,  phrased  “Is  it  a….?”  If  the  judge   answers  this  ques'on  with  a  yes,  the  players  win.     •  The  players  have  an  infinite  number  of  ques'ons  to  guess   the  noun  successfully.   •  They  have  90  seconds  to  make  their  guess.    
  7. 7. Hunicke,  LeBlanc,  and  Zubek  
  8. 8. Mechanics   Dynamics     Aesthe'cs  
  9. 9. Mechanics   •  Rules     •  Code     •  Parameters  of  Interac'vity    
  10. 10. Dynamics     •  Rules  create  the  parameters  by  which   someone  engages.     •  These  parameters  encourage  and  discourage   different  ac'ons  and  behaviors.     •  Dynamics  are  these  emergent  behaviors.    
  11. 11. Aesthe'cs   •  These  behaviors  create  feelings  in  users.   •  These  feeling  can  reflect  emo'ons,  tones,   themes,  or  stories.     •  This  is  the  Aesthe'cs  of  Interac'vity.    
  12. 12. The  Aesthe'cs  of  Interac'vity   Rules   Behavior   Emo'on  
  13. 13. 20  Ques'ons  Review   •  One  change  in  rules  (mechanics)…     •  creates  completely  different  behavior   (dynamics)…     •  which  creates  completely  different  feelings   (aesthe'cs).    
  14. 14. One  Caveat  –  Transparent  Interac'vity  
  15. 15. What  does  this  have  to  do  with   narra've?   •  In  an  interac've  system,  users  do  things.  They   are  agents.     •  This  means  that  they  are  following  your  rules.     •  Those  rules  create  behaviors  and  thus   emo'ons,  themes,  and  story.   •  This  is  true  of  EVERY  interac've  system.     •  So  if  you  have  a  theme  or  story  to  your  work,   the  aesthe'cs  of  your  interac'vity  should   reflect  that.    
  16. 16. STREET  GAME  EXAMPLE  
  17. 17. Kill  Him  and  You  Will  Be  Famous   •  One  player  is  the  Master.  Everyone  else  is  an  Afacker.   •  The  Afacker,  when  called,  has  15  seconds  to  get  a  ball  into   the  Master’s  open  backpack.     •  While  the  Afacker  afacks,  The  Master  can  do  nothing  but   defend.     •  At  the  end  of  15  seconds,  I  yell  Retreat  and  the  Afacker   drops  both  balls  and  runs.     •  If  the  Afacker  ever  doesn’t  have  any  balls  in  hand,  the   Master  can  kill  the  Afacker  with  a  touch.   •  Whenever  an  Afacker  escapes  the  Master  or  is  killed,  I  call   the  next  Afacker  to  start.     •  If  the  Afacker  scores  a  ball  in  the  Master’s  backpack,  the   Master  is  killed  and  the  Afacker  becomes  the  next  Master.    
  18. 18. What  is  the  narra've  experience?   Mechanics  –  basket  goal,  numbering  and  calling   of  afackers,  retreat  'mer   Dynamics  –  choice  of  afack  styles,  Master   strategies  of  energy  conserva'on  and  defense,   Master  vigilance  about  next  afacker     Aesthe'c  –  a  mar'al  arts  master  figh'ng  off  a   roomful  of  thugs    
  19. 19. COMMERCIAL  EXAMPLE  
  20. 20. Is  Brand  Extension  the  Only  Use  of   Games?  
  21. 21. Creature  Feep  
  22. 22. Brand  Inven'on  
  23. 23. Games  as  Part  of  Brand  Lifecycle   Brand   Inven'on   Brand   Development   Brand   Extension   Games  as  early     experiments  to  test   concepts  cheaply   Games  as  steps   in  the  story  as     equal  parts  to  other     narra've  elements   Games  as  external  element    to  expand  fan  base     and  bridge  series  gaps  
  24. 24. Brand  Extension   •  Game  serves  a  marke'ng  or  commercial   purpose.     •  Marke'ng   – Game  is  designed  to  take  IP  to  a  new  audience.   – Cri'cal  that  the  game  get  adopted,  not  mone'zed.   – Development  costs  here  are  'ed  to  plajorm  and   reach.        
  25. 25. Marke'ng  Example:  Red  Bull  Focus  
  26. 26. Brand  Extension   •  Commercial   – Game  is  designed  to  exploit  the  brand  to  mone'ze   the  audience  more.     – This  is  more  expensive  and  more  involved,   because  the  game  has  to  compete  in  the  market.     – Not  automa'c  success,  but  a  good  game  'ed  to  an   appropriate  category  can  be  very  successful.  
  27. 27. Commercial  Example:  Kim  Kardashian   Hollywood  
  28. 28. Commercial  Example:  Hunger  Games   Panem  Run  
  29. 29. Brand  Development     •  Game  is  a  core  part  of  the  narra've  universe.     •  Playing  the  game  is  actually  par'cipa'ng  in   the  story.  The  story  is  transmedial.   •  Why  not  mone'ze  on  this?  
  30. 30. Example:  Force  Unleashed  
  31. 31. Example:  Other  Movie  Tie-­‐Ins  
  32. 32. Example:  Breaking  Bad:  The  Cost  of   Doing  Business  
  33. 33. Brand  Inven'on   •  Use  the  game  as  a  way  to  incubate  a  new   brand.   •  Horror,  sci-­‐fi,  fantasy,  detec've,  thriller,  soap   operas,  historic  melodrama  –  all  of  these  are   genres  that  overlap  with  gamers.     •  How  much  does  it  cost  to  make  a  game   rela've  to  a  pilot?    
  34. 34. Pseudo-­‐example:  Where’s  my  Water?  
  35. 35. Pseudo-­‐example:  Toy-­‐game  Hybrids  
  36. 36. Games  as  Part  of  Brand  Lifecycle   Brand   Inven'on   Brand   Development   Brand   Extension   Games  as  early     experiments  to  test   concepts  cheaply   Games  as  steps   in  the  story  as     equal  parts  to  other     narra've  elements   Games  as  external  element    to  expand  fan  base     and  bridge  series  gaps  
  37. 37. Thank You nick@playmatics.com www.playmatics.com confiden'al  

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