There is so much BLAND out there…
So much media, and so much is boring, instantly forgettable. Don’t you agree?
I like lots of different films, music and games and I’m digging down into why I like certain things…
I love the energy of Joe Strummer singing in the Clash, the genre shifting movies of Jacques Audiard and the very real human interactivity in the games of David Cage.
It is often said that life is a series of moments.
Stories are definitely a series of moments.
And interactive stories SHOULD BE a series of moments. Your opportunity is bigger with interactive stories because the audience are ACTIVE and engaged.
The moments I remember, they are like the thumbnails of the experience, I remember the experience via the moment.
Let’s go further in……
When thinking about those films, music and games, I remember what amounts to a tiny part of the whole.
When Strummer screeeeeeeeams and howls in the song London Calling, when the refugee family in Dheepan violently turn against their situation and when in Beyond Two Souls you lose connection with your other self for a moment, you feel great loss almost as if someone died.
Making these moments is about understanding your audience, and yourself, as much as the bigger experience and technology you’re dealing with.
You can think about moments in your media and digital life that you remember well. Often there is an emotional aspect to it. But it could just be a small nuance that creates a big shift that changes your perception.
Find something for the audience that they never realised about themselves, you, the story, the experience or the technology.
For me there were some startling things I saw in the early days of the web (Eye4U, Egomedia and a few early personalised online adverts) that I remember clearly to this day. These were new and exciting uses of web technology. (All sadly offline by the time you read this.)
Then in 2007 I signed up for an account on a thing called Facebook. In the setup wizard, I allowed access to my address book, which then was visualised before my eyes, with pictures (profile pics) of the people I knew. It was the first time I ever saw those contacts visually en masse. And it (rather ironically) matched what I was signing up to – a book of faces.
You are under interrogation, in a black room, you are questioned relentlessly, and you must remember your answers – or you die. The magic is that the setup matches the environment, and the story matches the challenge. The moment holds throughout the game as it’s basically a 1 trick idea – the game mechanic is the moment. (The game has another great moment at the end but I won’t spoil it for you…)
TIMING – Look for points in the experience where user attention falls off – and give them something special to play with or consider – a WOW! moment.
FLIP the TONE – When you need to instruct a user on what is happening – find a way to say it that isn’t bland and instructional – make an unexpected interesting and fun personal moment.
REFLECT – Feel what the audience feel at that moment – and reflect that moment back to the audience.
Ok, what are you waiting for?
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