4D Fiction

Exploring the many dimensions of creative storytelling...

Browsing Posts published by Geoff May

Master Chief: Bobble HeadPerhaps this article would be better entitled: Why I love Halo: An Epic Analysis.

I’m not a Halo fanatic…relatively speaking. I’m not shy about being an enormous fan of the Halo franchise, but I don’t own a Master Chief costume, nor have I ever worn one. I don’t know every little intricate detail of the Halo universe. I can’t ramble off stats, ID numbers, the name and rank of every known character. I don’t play the video game most of the day, every day, and it’s a fat chance I’d “pwn” anyone in multiplayer these days if I did. At all. I’m what you might consider a discoverer, or a story enthusiast.

Halo: Combat EvolvedI was an early adopter of the original Xbox back in 2001, due solely to previews of Halo: Combat Evolved. At that point, I was a gamer. My friends at first were annoyed with my constant raving about Halo, yet many eventually caved and began playing as well – and soon, much more than me. My game-playing fanaticism and multiplayer skill slowly faded as I was drawn further into the mystery, the story world that had been created by Bungie Studios.

I would not hesitate in the slightest to refer to the Halo franchise as “Epic”.

Quite often I compare the potential scope of this universe to that of Star Trek or Star Wars. To me, for a story to be epic, it must have potential to become a ‘part of the whole’, a story told within what feels to be a much, much larger untold story. For an epic to be successful in my opinion, it needs to employ a certain formula. It needs first to be told from the perspective of an individual, or providing only a very small portion of the larger picture, and still make a personal connection with the audience. If done right, this story alone would capture its audience.

Consider recent entertainment franchises like Terminator, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or even the Chronicles of Riddick. Each begins by telling a self-contained story from a single perspective, while leaving many questions unanswered in the end. Sarah Connor has to survive against a deadly killing machine from the future. Neo strives desperately to discover and understand what the Matrix is. The little hobbits in peaceful Hobbiton have their worlds turned upside by an unknown, evil force. Harry potter learns about a strange, magical, hidden world. The convict Riddick uses his extreme skills to survive and escape a deadly planet. Each of these tease at a larger universe with untold stories, but begin with an engaging tale of discovery or exploration of something unknown.

Enter Master Chief, Spartan John-117.

Master Chief gazesPresuming one knows nothing of the previous, indirectly related Marathon titles – with Halo, we begin from the Chief’s perspective, opening up not only in the middle of a war we know nothing about, but making that first, eerie discovery of a foe that threatens much more than we could imagine (I will never forget watching for the first time the cinematic cutscene in which the Chief discovers the Flood). Already, the premise is clear that this isn’t just a self-contained video game story, but actually only a very small window into a universe filled with history and a future, conflict, and characters that truly feel as if they have backstories and full lives.

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Logo: Mosaic CollectiveWhat did you see?

Back in April, a commercial for an organization named The Mosaic Collective aired on ABC, forwarding people to themosaiccollective.com. Visitors were asked to report into a database what they saw during a very brief flash of an image on screen. The collective would then generate a mosaic of these ‘visions’ for the public.

Recently, The Mosaic Collective has begun collecting more extensive visions from people regarding their 2 minute and 17 second “Flash Forwards” – visions of their lives six months in the future, which everyone on earth experienced during the GBO (Global Blackout).

Mosaic Task Force at San Diego Comic Con, July 2009I was one of the fortunate few to meet up with the collective at Comic Con in San Diego in July, and was able to finally get my flash forward reported and off my chest. I met Mosiac Task Force Intelligence Analyst Marcie Turoff who was intrigued by my vision and asked some followup questions after my report. However, I’m uncertain if this is something I should have done, given the personal and sensitive nature of my vision. But it could end up taking one of two directions: reporting my vision ends up changing the future and I no longer have to worry about my safety, or reporting my vision has made my eventual knowledge public and inevitably leads to that very future and the danger I will soon be faced with.

Judge for yourself. The Mosaic Collective has published my report via their Youtube account. I truly hope this changes things.

Marcie Turoff business cardThe Mosaic Collective is “dedicated to connecting the world one experience at a time.” The GBO wreaked havoc across the earth as 7 billion people blacked out simultaneously for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Many did not survive. The rest were left dazed and confuzed, having to make sense of what just happened. The Collective aims to unite humanity with their efforts to paint a mosaic of the future by analyzing as many flash forwards as they’re able to get a hold of.

Logo_TruthHackAn investigative journalist, Oscar Obregon, reporting for Truth Hack (Youtube), described the collective this way:

Mosaic’s general approach is an interesting one; in one way they’re offering the public a service – an international clearinghouse to find corroborating information for FlashForwards. At the same time, they’re building a database that could potentially create a a vivid portrait of our collective future – and possibly explain whatever could be behind the GBO [Global Blackout] itself. It’s not quite open source, but it’s close, and seeing the Bureau embrace a more “web 2.0” approach speaks well of Wedeck’s instincts.

Something is believed to be scheduled to happen at JoinTheMosaic.com on August 16th. Keep watch!


San Diego Comic Con Flash Forward promo posterFlash Forward is a new ABC TV series slated to premiere September 24th.

For more information, visit these sites:

Here are some campaign sites to get you connected:

And of course, there is an Unfiction community discussion you can join in as well.

(this article is mirrored from the original location at wikibruce.com)

Elan Lee, co-founder of Fourth Wall Studios and long-time ARG Puppetmaster, recently tweeted that a new paper he co-authored about ARGs and storytelling had been published online.

Titled “Storytelling in new media: The case of alternate reality games, 2001-2009“, authors Jeffrey Kim, Elan Lee, Timothy Thomas, and Caroline Dombrowski cover and discuss a variety of Alternate Reality Games that took place over the past 8 years, and compare their strengths and shortcomings.

Abstract:

New media allows previously passive consumers to tell and shape stories together. Yet most information is still disseminated in a top–down fashion, without taking advantage of the features enabled by new media. This paper presents five Alternate Reality Game (ARG) case studies which reveal common features and mechanisms used to attract and retain diverse players, to create task–focused communities and to solve problems collectively. Voluntary, collective problem solving is an intriguing phenomenon wherein disparate individuals work together asynchronously to solve problems together. ARGs also take advantage of the unique features of new media to craft stories that could not be told using other media.

You can read the entire paper at UIC.edu.

(this article is mirrored from the original location at wikibruce.com)