Gamification is more than a growing trend in new media. It’s a cultural shift in how consumers expect to interact with content. And within gamification, there is booming demand for the customization of storylines.
For many, the video game of the year for 2012 was “The Walking Dead,” which allowed players to tailor a story and make choices that affected characters based in the same world of the hugely popular AMC show. Another example is the new show on the Syfy network, “Defiance,” will be placed in the same world of an online multi-player game, with the player’s actions influencing the plot of the show.
It makes sense that video games would be able to easily integrate the appeal of customized storylines, but the more interesting question is how do other forms of entertainment leverage this highly interactive and participatory model of engagement?
Paper Darts, a Twin Cities literary arts magazine, invited four authors (Ed Bok Lee, John Jodzio, Maggie Ryan Sandford, and Katie Heaney) to write original choose-your-own-adventure stories incorporating various art exhibits throughout the entire museum. The MIA estimates about 2,000 locals showed up to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event (literally, it is impossible to recreate the event as was experienced last night).
The result was a suspense filled adventure through centuries of different art forms and styles, with participants in the driver seat customizing the content of their stories and experiencing outcomes tailored to their choices.
As this trend towards customized gaming continues to grow and leak into mainstream entertainment, it will be interesting to see who keeps up and who falls behind. Just this past week, the TV show “Hawaii Five-O” allowed viewers to call in and vote on the ending they wanted to see, just like the readers at the Paper Darts + MIA Third Thursday, the TV show fans were able to shape their own story and receive an ending tailored to their choices.
Enjoy these photos from the Paper Darts + MIA Choose Your Own Adventure event!