Multimedia Awesomeness

I started hearing the term ‘multimedia’ back in the 90’s. Now I think we may actually have it! One thing that I’m really enjoying about the Dragon Age saga at Bioware is their efforts at multimedia in the literal sense. Not content to just make fantastic computer games, they have also published several books in the Dragon Age world. Really good books too. I read a fair bit of fantasy, and these stood as fine examples independently from the games. Furthermore, they are planning what appears to be a potentially awesome miniseries, coming out this summer. I can only hope this kind of thinking catches on. Think of how much more fully we can explore a story, or a character, or a world, using all these forms of media than when we limit ourselves to only one! Plus it touches on a dilemma I sometimes encounter. I will be engaged in a particular story – say an engrossing novel, – but for whatever reason not in the mood for that particular medium. Maybe I’m feeling like a more immersive experience such as television, or perhaps I’m in the mood to actually take part as in a game. This sort of cross-platform storytelling gives the reader/viewer/player the ability, to some extent, to choose the story and the manner of experiencing it independently. Of course, in the Dragon Age example, each component is simply set in the same fantastical world; they don’t actually seamlessly carry on the same story at the will of the reader. But eventually, why not? Video games already use cut-scenes to tell parts of the story. What if those elements were decoupled somewhat? For example, a game could have an attached miniseries. You could watch episodes of the miniseries whenever you wished, interspersed with sessions playing the game. And the game would be aware of where you were in the series, adjusting itself accordingly. (The player character in the game would either be unaware of the events not yet seen in the series, or perhaps those events would not have yet occurred in the chronology of the game.) I’m sure there are interesting and entertaining ways this could be worked out. It wouldn’t be easy, but the result would be a form of entertainment and storytelling unlike anything we have today. OR, imagine cross-linked eBooks and audiobooks. You can already start a book on your kindle, then pick it up where you left off on your laptop or your iPhone. What if you could then get in your car, and keep on ‘reading’ in spoken form? That’d be awesome! (Honestly, I really hope this is on the way.. I can’t count the times I’ve wished I could keep reading my book while driving or folding laundry or whatever.) Although they better give you a break on the combined cost of the two formats! Guys, I love living in a time when technology offers all these incredible opportunities. 😀

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