Eve Weinberg

Art of Immersion


This book takes you through case studies throughout history of immersive cross-platform media experienced. It begins with a bit of history of how television was consumed and rated in the ‘era of the couch potato,’ entirely comprised on scheduled viewing linear narratives. Then it quickly delves into failed and successful examples of television shows branching out beyond linear and closed-narrative, and into non-linear interactive narratives. Here are some examples:

Batman Forever launched an online game one year before the movie came out, taking players through a series of online mysteries which then extended to phone calls and instructions to visit locations in the real world – a scavenger hunt of sorts.

Avatar had a console game (PlayStation I think?) that paralleled the protagonist Jack’s struggle to choose between staying with the Navi or staying human. I think this was deemed a failure, can’t remember why

With the history of video games  you can see a similar progression from ROM (read only memory) to procedurally created worlds. Mario brothers or paceman are ROM because, although the user has choices, the repercussions of all series of choices is predetermined. Grand theft auto is procedural because only the rules of physics and he world have been written, but each player can create new experiences by crashing into things, falling off buildings, etc.

Lost was discussed as a successful merger of television, Internet, and (possibly?) advertising. The writers did their due diligence by embedding

The most successful video game series and tv series all start with world building. If the story is good, the audience will go digging for details. The authors must know the answers – the who, what, when, why, and how of every question. Lost is a great example of this with its mysterious ‘numbers’. The book speaks to this for an entire chapter, but in summary, after one season of lost the audience created a wiki page, many message boards, and we’re spending many hours online discussing the numbers from all angles, using a hive mind mentality to attack the mystery from the angles of their various real-world specialties (chemical engineers, architects). In the end, the mystery was revealed through a series of puzzles (following a rabbit hole from tv to a url) and the payoff was great! The miners were extremely significant – relating to the chaos theory of the end of the world that XXXX developed in 19xx after the Cuban missive crisis. Had the writers not thought about their world holistically, anticipating this extreme hunger for truth, they might not have created such a salacious payoff.

Sim city showed that people want control over their environments.

More references:

Mad men Twitter

Harry Potter Twitter

2nd screens

Gamify everything – shrute-bucks

Dr who games

Cut away scenes in video games

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