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Pervasive Entertainment

Transmedia storytelling offers opportunities for varying degrees participation and the blurring of fictional and real worlds. “Pervasive games” for example are those, like the ARG, that expand a fictional world into real physical spaces and take place at any and all times of day or night.

These dimensions of transmedia have been examined before in the context of virtual worlds.

At the 2002 Game Developers Conference, Raph Koster and Rich Vogel described a “storytelling cube” with the following three axes:

  • Control: How much freedom does the audience have to create their own experience and how much control will you have as the author?
  • Impact: What long-lasting impact will the audience have on the evolution of the experience?
  • Context: How much of the experience is based in a fictional world and how much exists in “real life”?

Designing a transmedia experience then is a matter of asking the following:

  • What is the story I want to tell?
  • How will I deliver the story?
  • What kind of audience participation do I want or need?
  • How will audience participation affect the story over time?
  • How much is based in the real world vs a fictional world?

At one end of the spectrum, there might be an entirely fictional world, tightly controlled by the author with no audience interaction and at the other you could have an experience based around real-world places & events in which the audience is free to completely change how the story evolves and is experienced. And of course the two can be mixed and there’s a lot of space in between. Further, the experience will also of course depend on the author’s resources and the intellectual property license.