Monday, October 7, 2013

Oct 9, 2013

I love media mixes. I think that it is fantastic that content developers are giving the fans of intellectual properties multiple mediums to interact with their source material. The convergence of old and new forms of media have provided media participants with more material to engage with than ever before, with different platforms serving different niches. Love playing World of Warcraft, but need something to do on the bus? Read one of the many novels or comic book tie ins. Enjoy GTA V and need something to do while you're supposed to be studying at school? Download the GTA V phone app. There are two ways that come to mind which media mixes may effect the experience of a title's content: converging media can be used enhance the experience with peripheral narrative or experiences, or media mixes can be used to retell a story in a new medium.

For videogames in particular, it is not rare for large releases to be accompanied by, preceded by, or followed by the release of a complementing story, phone app, online forum, podcast, or other mode of engagement. These additional mediums allow for fans of a game to engage with the world of their favorite characters on multiple platforms.  These additional avenues of play and interaction grant additional opportunities for game creators to extend the content of their game well beyond the medium it was initiated in.  Star Wars The Old Republic is a prime example of a well executed media mix, with converging mediums surrounding a game release.  The game was the spiritual successor to the acclaimed Knights of the Old Republic series, granting it a rich lore base to build off of.  Prior to the release of the Old Republic, 3 comic miniseries were released (, 3 full novels were released (, and an online community was founded which released weekly content on the game.  The novels and comics were used to both augment the story of the upcoming game release, and tie the lore to the pre-existing story from Knights of the Old Republic, while the site was used to hand feed the gaming community weekly tidbits of information, boosting the game’s massive hype.  Media mixes are able to expand an original product into a deep universe with multiple mediums for content consumption.  The Star Wars franchise at large started as a movie and novel release, and has exploded into a IP with countless mediums for interaction.  See this list of Star Wars media release for an idea of the company’s yearly releases:  Media mixes give entertainment the opportunity to extend beyond the original intended medium, drawing in new potential consumers who may be a fan of the expanded medium (ie. comics), providing existing fans new mediums for participation, and ultimately offering a deeper expanded IP narrative.

In addition to enhancing narratives, media mixes may also include the same story being reinterpreted and retold in varying mediums.  There are several Japanese intellectual properties which have different interpretations of the same stories available in both manga and anime.  Some of the notable series include Dragon Ball Z, and Naruto.  While these intellectual properties likely do have narrative enhancing peripheral texts similar to those in the above paragraph, they also offer fans of a series more than 1 way to experience the same general story.  The stories that are transferred to the new medium are likely not direct mirrors of the original story's content, (see comparison of Dragon Ball Z manga and anime here:, see comparison of Naruto anime and manga here: but they do provide the developer the opportunity to adapt the story to the new medium. If necessary, the authors can conduct some rejigging of narrative elements so that they're more appropriate to the new platform of consumption, or to remove or edit features which may not have been successful.

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