Interactive Entertainment Software

I should mention, for those teaching or just experimenting themselves, that I’m working on a Guide to Interactive Entertainment Software. Check it out and let me know any additions you suggest.

Cross-Media Traveler

A new sci-fi book has been given the multi-channel marketing treatment by Random House. The book, The Traveler, by John Twelve Hawks, came to my attention a few weeks ago through the ARG that was created. Although it was noticed late last year, it wasn’t until recently the game came into effect. The ARG (alternate reality game) has, of course, a few websites. There is a game website, in which you undertake survellience-type tests (a la Spooks interactive — I love sleuth games); Judith Strand site; Judith Strand Blog; auto-parts company; Everygreen Foundation; Hollis Martial Arts and their blog. There is a forum at Unfiction for players of the ARG.

As described in the NYTime’s article by Brian Montopoli on June 27th, Doubleday Borrows a Page From Hollywood, DoubleDay have undertaken a multi-channel, indeed multi-arts-type campaign to market the book. In the theatrical/RL corner they have women dressed as the protagonist in the novel, Maya, attending BookExpo America. This aspect is interesting because the marketing is targeting the marketers, not the readership. I hadn’t included such behind-the-door campaigns in my cross-media model so far. (Although I’ve considered test-screenings and pre-production publication.) They are targeting the booksellers again with a “DVD featuring Mr. Twelve Hawks [the author], his voice filtered through a machine that transforms it into a computerized baritone, reading excerpts of the book over minimalist animation”.

What is also interesting is the author is ‘in-character’ as well: claiming he lives “off-the-grid” just like his characters in his novel.

To top it off, the book is available in a spectrum of multi-channel forms:

an abridged audio cassette, unabridged audio cassette, abridged audio CD, unabridged audio CD, an abridged downloadable audiobook, an unabridged downloadable audiobook, eBook and in large print 

You can read some reviews of the book and an excerpt at

I’m pleased to see such efforts being put into books. But I’m keen to also see multi-channel works that run concurrently with the reading of the book.

Thanks Jeremy, for the article link.

iTV History

Tracey Swedlow’s site, [itvt], has an interesting whitepaper on the history of enhanced television (a big area in the cross-media matrix): 2000: Interactive Enhanced Television: A Historical and Critical Perspective. It is described as follows:

The outline this paper takes beyond introduction begins with an overview of market forces and important changes that occured over the last year until the time of writing, the promise of the medium, lingering questions about whether ITV will amount to a real industry, and other questions about privacy, targeted advertising, and the integrity of content in this environment. The next section deals with how ITV elements can appear on the screen, the types of content and applications that will exist in this environment, the latest technologies, and a short inquiry into how ITV will pay for itself. The next section presents the origins of ITV through a historical evaluation. The following section provides a breakdown of currently available solutions and general interactive television terms. In the final section, we present important issues, such as privacy and “open” vs. “forced” access, which currently remain unresolved. At the very end, we include a few observations from professionals in the field concerning remaining challenges and risks.

I have psoted about this paper before, but it is worth knowing about, including Tracey’s very informative email newsletter.