Christy Dena’s long-awaited PhD is out on the open, in the internets, about alternate reality games, pervasive games and other transmedia practices. After a quick browse, it looks like a worthy read, but I’ll spend real time with it when I’m less pressed by the payjob.
In the past few years there have been a number of theories emerge in media, film, television, narrative and game studies that detail the rise of what has been variously described as transmedia, cross-media and distributed phenomena. Fundamentally, the phenomenon involves the employment of multiple media platforms for expressing a fictional world. To date, theorists have focused on this phenomenon in mass entertainment, independent arts or gaming; and so, consequently the global, transartistic and transhistorical nature of the phenomenon has remained somewhat unrecognised. Theorists have also predominantly defined it according to end-point characteristics—such as the “expansion” trait (a story continues across media). This has resulted in the phenomenon being obscured amongst similar phenomena. Therefore, rather than investigate the phenomenon as it occurs in isolated artistic sectors and with an end-point characteristic, this thesis investigates all of these emergences through the lens of transmedia practice. That is, this thesis investigates the nature of transmedia practice in general, according to the way practitioners conceive and design a fictional world to be expressed across distinct media and environments.
Definitely an interesting piece. I feel a little resentment towards all monography writers, for hiding their gems until they are ready to blast you with their full 374 pages of light summer reading… But, I’m confident that this one is totally worth the wait.
Among other things, Christy is a bit critical of the focus of the expansion model of used in Pervasive Games. We hope she’ll tell a bit more about that critique in a guest post she has promised to write us!