Here in Androidzoom we love games that tell stories besides providing great technical features and gameplay. That’s the case of RPGs, for example, but today we will go a step further and beyond a sole genre or even the world of mobile applications. Last week we had the opportunity to test the latest beActive’s launch, a strategy game called Collider Quest set in the very Large Hadron Collider located in CERN laboratories. Too bad the quest from the title has nothing to do with the Higgs Boson… This story of six people transported to a post-apocalyptic 2018 -where they have to fight to discover how they got there, how to survive, and how to get back the present after reversing a wormhole in CERN-, is much more than an impressive mobile game. Thus, we have comic books, webisodes and a graphic novel teaming up together to unfold this adventure alongside with the app. If we had to describe what Collider is, we would say that is just a storyworld spreaded across different media.
beActive’s storyworld, obviously, is not the first one in taking the crossmedia path. If you are a true lostie fan you will remember that there was more about Lost than the TV series. In this example, television was the core of everything so that you should watch it to understand what the mobisodes, the Bad Twin novel or the Alternate Reality Game The Lost Experience – and the rest- were about, because they did feature different things. If you wanted to achieve a full insight into the Lost storyworld you had to jump from one media to another as you were trying to solve a puzzle. Of course, you could live happily with just watching the TV show: looking at how the whole project was designed, the storytelling didn’t force you to go through that hell of media experiencies. But there are some other projects that do require to do so in one way or another, like the mentioned Alternate Reality Games (ARG).
If you play an ARG be prepare to go from looking up phonebooks and websites and watching shabby YouTube videos for clues that can lead you to read page 45 from tomorrow’s newspaper to find a hidden message that you have to text to a certain number to get a new clue, and so on. Crazy, right? You can even find yourself going to a mall and taking a picture of some suspicious weirdo talking to other weirdo in front to the groceries’, and when you are home submitting that pic to a forum to unblock the next stage of the ARG. I’m not even kidding, that kind of stuff happen in these projects, and if well organized, they can be real fun. The ultimate clash of analogic and digital media and real life experiences.
Looking at those ventures there’s no point in making a story crossmedia when you don’t give away at least something a little different or new in each media, in other words, there is no point in replicate the same content here and there – I ask myself why some people can call it crossmedia in the first place .- This is the perfect enviroment for outakes or background storylines and information that usually get dropped in the process of making a film, writing a book, or developing a mobile game. It’s a way to make the most of your imagination and feeding users’ anxities to know more and keep them engaged for a while. In a time when the offer is overfragmented and we shift in between screens in a heartbeat, creators and entertaiment companies are searching for ways to achieve a reliable return on their investments through these innovative practices. But the challenge is out there because users are not fool, especially the expert ones, and they’re not willing to take the bait of anything thrown at them. So, the whole deal reduces to same old, simple chant: compelling and comprehensive storyworlds and characters. Which may sound easy but it is more complex than that, because a weak story only can survive one media, not more, and users can feel when they are being cheated for money.
Mar G.P. likes to chase stories no matter the media they are told in.