Transmedia development applies many forms of information delivery and every form should offer individual users a unique experience attached to a larger idea. The emergence of multi-platform narrative might illustrate a methodology for considering the future role of the user. Where author and audience share the responsibility of making meaning (Abba, 2009).
Roig, San Cornelio, Ardèvol, Alsina and Pagès (2009) argue that the knowledge of audiovisual use is enhanced by interactive and game enjoyment factors not yet established in previous audiovisual genres. Electronic games use ‘play’ as an essential tool for audiovisual awareness, presenting original variations in audiovisual production and response.
Treating viewers as players and creators of content presents a new connection between subject and representation. The concept changes the position of ‘spectator’ to that of directing a playful affiliation with the audiovisual content (Roig, San Cornelio, Ardèvol, Alsina, & Pagès, 2009).
The process is illustrated well in Why So Serious, a transmedia strategy game which allows audiences to get ‘Gotham City’ citizenship. It was an attempt to reinvigorate the Batman series, which had waned since the movies produced in the 90’s, in time for the opening of the newest installation of Batman movies beginning with The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008). The web is the epicenter where spectators take part and play in the story.
The website Why So Serious. 360 Alternative Reality presented the experience and included the user/viewer/co-creator in many ways:
- By becoming henchmen; allowing users to fuel the rise of the Joker.
- Campaigning for Harvey Dent; including real world events in 33 cities throughout the United States of America. The process involved a culmination of tens of thousands of people marching with signs, passing out buttons, wearing t-shirts and shouting campaign slogans, all in support of Harvey Dent.
- By becoming copycat Batman vigilantes; the users were allowed to ‘take the law into their own hands’.
- Players were able to be part of real word events in the form of messages sent about GPS locations of bowling alleys (in cities across the USA, Canada and other cities around the world such as London, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and Paris); players got a combination number to retrieve a package that was part of a sting operation set up by the ‘Gotham Police’.
- A collaborative narrative was established.
- Large scale projections; in the final weeks players in Chicago and New York got the opportunity to take turns using the famous ‘Batsignal’.
- Print media.
- Video (over 1300 videos related to the viral campaign).
- Pictures (Over 5000 photos related to the viral campaign).
- A mobile phone campaign.
- Online/interactive games.
- User generated content.
The website Why so Serious. 360 Alternative Reality shows results such as: “Over 10 Millions users in over 75 countries for the campaign ‘Why so Serious’ and the 2nd highest grossing film of all time for The Dark Knight.”
It’s success implies that many generations of blogs and websites which now illustrate the city of Gotham are now also working (intentionally or otherwise) to campaign for the Alternate Reality Branding host:
Citizens For Batman
Retrieved from: http://www.alternaterealitybranding.com/tdk/www_citizensforbatman_org/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.
Gotham National Bank
Retrieved from: http://www.alternaterealitybranding.com/tdk/www_gothamnationalbank_com/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.
Gotham City Pizzeria
Retrieved from: http://www.alternaterealitybranding.com/tdk/www_gothamcitypizzeria_com/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.
Gotham City Pizzeria
Retrieved from: http://www.alternaterealitybranding.com/tdk/www_thegothamtimes_com/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.
The Hahaha Times
Retrieved from: http://thehahahatimes.com/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.
The Gothan Cable News
Retrieved from: http://www.alternaterealitybranding.com/tdk/www_gothamcablenews_com/. Date accessed: 15th September 2011.