Cross-Media: Virtual Worlds and Podcasts > “The Shadow Falls Experience”


Shadow Falls title in video


I completely missed this one when it was happening (my defence is that I was travelling at the time), but you really should know about this if you don’t already. In July last year an audio drama began, Shadow Falls. It is a scary tale with high production standards, nice careful attention to the writing, and anagram clues that are issued in the audio fan forum…and so gathered alot of fans very quickly. The season one finale was in early November and fans were hanging out for more tales. And so, the writer Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, got together with some experts of another artform and added something new on the 22nd of November. On that day they launched “The Shadow Falls Experience“.

What they did was create the fictional world of Shadow Falls in the online virtual world Second Life. And then, over the next few weeks, released audio clues in the podcast. The listeners then logged into SL and sought out the information, based on the clues. Just like the ARG I Love Bees, the players had to solve a puzzle and go to a (virtual) place to retrieve an audio component of the story. The players do this, but for those who do not participate in the experience, the total story is podcast at the end. This story is the season two prologue, a podnovel/audio novel. Here is what Mark said about the experience in the “interactive fan forum”, companion #5 podcast (17/11/06) prior to it commencing: 

It’s an addition for those of you have already experienced season one…

It’s a way to market Shadow Falls…its a way to expose Shadow Falls to a whole new audience…there are millions of people in Second Life…Shadow Falls is not free to make…we are competing against video…we get more people to listen to Shadow Falls through Second Life and we’ve got a better shot at season 2.

If you’ve listend to season one of Shadow Falls, you know that a good 300 plus years ago there was a tragedy that happened there and the surviviors of that tragedy were the people who settled Shadow Falls. ..I’m about to tell you that story of what happened more than three centuries ago. And if you’re interested in the mmythology of this town, the origins of the wolf and the coyete, well you’re going to want to read this story. Trust me. And the only way you’re going to find this story…is in Second Life.

I’ve broken the story up into six parts, and each of the six parts is something that you find along the way in solving this Da-Vinci-Code-like scavenger hunt in Shadow Falls…You’re going to solve puzzles, you’re going to follow clues, you’re going to hunt for stuff in Shadow Falls and along the way I am going to reveal parts of this towns past that are…pretty creepy.

I’m sure at some point in the future, I may release this story  out into the world without Second Life. But Second Life is the only place you will find the Shadow Falls prequel…for now.

Now, the experience did work as a marketing exercise for me. I’m thrilled I know about it now. The experience is not designed, however, for newcomers (the second aim of the project). But, that just forces me to listen to the season one to be able to experience it. I have had a look at Podshow Island, incidently, where it is supposed to be…and haven’t found anything as yet. Maybe it is too late? Cool idea though. The creators of this experience (including Britney Mason) in SL put up a video mashup of it at YouTube, more videos and the clues etc, and the podcast, at Podshow, iTunes etc. Shadow Falls is executive produced by Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, Adam Curry, Robert Blum.

There have been many extensions of a property in Second Life, the amount of fan worlds in SL is growing (perhaps daily) very nice. You can walk through your fantasy realm. The extension of a property into a virtual world is growing too: I created a listing of many in this blog post. In that post I mention a book that had a virtual world created by the Myst creators too. As CC Chapman notes, there has been a launch of a podnovel in Second Life (and of course many book launches in SL too). I think this is the first multi-platform (podcast-virtual world) format . Some examples of some creative episodic podcasts include Next, I Hem a Cyclic Door. This is a cross-media podcast in that they alternate between video, audio and comics — lovely. They started in early 2005 and finished last year. I’ve been meaning to blog about them since the beginning but I just never got around to it. Sorry guys. There is another great creative podcast that I did blog about, on my other blog, WriterResponseTheory. What the No Media Kings did back in April 2006 was create a choose-your-adventure story with a podcast: Pick-Your-Own-Podventure. Very neat and lots of fun. ARGN talks about an upcoming another upcoming radio play that is meant to have ARGish qualities too: Gallagher Brother’s Radio Theatre’s Gumshoe.

Well, lots to enjoy. I must say, as a narrative and text fan, I’m loving this exploration of rich narrative worlds with strong language. Lots more to come I’m sure…

Thankyou to Steve/Cybster for the headsup mate.

4 Replies

  • Dang! I had a thankyou in there at the beginning, decided to move it to the end and then forgot to put it in! It is in there now. Thankyou. 🙂

  • I’ve been a big fan of Shadow Falls – their production values really make the difference here! Thanks for tipping me off to the extensions – I’ll definitely have a look.

  • Hey Evan! As someone who didn’t know about Shadow Falls before-hand, I can’t wait to go through the first season — I am bit by bit. Hopefully, when I’ve got the appropriate knowledge I can follow the clues (I haven’t been able to find any player-community online that I can ride!). I’m hoping that Shadow Falls is still there. I couldn’t find it when I looked for this article. Fingers crossed.

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