In order to keep their audience constantly interested in a particular movie or television show, many companies are experimenting with different forms of digital transmedia extensions to draw their audiences into digital spaces. This new trend attempts to keep an audience invested in the world that their favorite characters live in in hopes of them returning to buy the next form of movie or remain a viewer of the show. Using the concepts of world-building and hypertext fiction, minigames and alternate reality games are a type of transmedia extensions used by movies like The Hunger Games Trilogy.
One of the things fans are most fascinated with is not the characters from movies or television shows but the world that the characters live in. A term described by Henry Jenkins on his blog post Transmedia Storytelling 101, world-building is where fans can learn more about their fantasy world in many ways past the screen. As described by Jenkins, the reason audience is fascinated by this is because, “We are drawn to master what can be known about a world which always expands beyond our grasp. This is a very different pleasure than we associate with the closure found in most classically constructed narratives, where we expect to leave the theatre knowing everything that is required to make sense of a particular story.” (Jenkins) A successful example of this is when The Hunger Games trilogy created a Facebook game where fans can explore the world of Panem and interact with their favorite characters. The game also works as publicity for the film by allowing fans to invite their friends to play and a way to make extra earnings by offering in-game purchases. The game can be found here.
Another concept used is hypertext, which as described by Janet Murray in her book Chapter 2: Harbingers of the Holodeck, is “a set of documents of any kind (images, text, charts, tables, video clips) connected to one another by links.” (Murray) This is an interactive process where stories written can have more than one entry point, offer many internal branches, while not having a clear ending. This offers a new experience for the fan where they have the ability to create the story based on their own decisions. The Hunger Games Trilogy also offers this concept in a hypertext game where fans can pretend that they’re a victor and each click determines the path they take in a Hunger Games and could determine life or death. As you see below, I was unfortunately no Katniss Everdeen and found out I would not survive in a Hunger Games! You can give it a shot yourself here.
Transmedia ensures that fans stay interested in their favorite worlds while offering a fun experience to learn more!
Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an Aca-Fan. 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://henryjenkins.org/2007/03/transmedia_storytelling_101.html>>
Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Chapter 2: Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Free, 1997. Print.