Going to ARGFest

This weekend, the annual Alternate Reality Game fan conference is being held in Seattle, and Silverstring Media will be there!

ARGFest-o-Con was the first major conference I ever went to, two years ago. It was the first place I met some awesome transmedia people IRL, and contacts cemented into friendships. It was where I first met Rob Jagnow of Lazy 8 Studios, who I now work with on his game Extrasolar. It was, all in all, an amazing experience.

This year, ARGFest is conveniently closer to home, and I’m bringing Andrew along with me. In fact, we’re doing a panel.

Since starting to work with Andrew and making him a partner at Silverstring Media, I’ve become more and more interested in the design side of our storytelling -- specifically, in meaningful design and ludonarrative synergy. Just looking at our new website verbiage attests to that. I love considering that the design of an experience contributes just as much if not more than the narrative to what an audience takes from the experience -- emotionally, thematically, narratively.

So I am moderating a panel at ARGFest entitled Ludonarrative Harmony: How Design and Narrative Should Play Together.

Too often, story is slapped onto game mechanics or platforms chosen solely due to popularity. Given the near-limitless options in crafting a game or transmedia experience, how do we ensure that our projects are designed as carefully as possible so the audience doesn’t experience ludonarrative dissonance? For instance, rather than throwing in “interactivity” because we’re told it’s a good thing, how does the interactivity actually help tell the story? This panel will delve into that relationship between story and design: how should an experience be created such that the narrative and the design of the experience/game/story are working together towards one purpose?

Sitting on this panel will be Rob Jagnow, J.C. Hutchins, and Dana Shaw, along with our own Andrew Grant Wilson. We’ll be delving into some deep critical analysis of our projects. And Andrew will be introducing a little thing he calls Boundary Architecture, and why it’s important for all of us to think about. You’ll hear more about that here soon.

We’re really looking forward to this. Hope to see you in Seattle.

 - Andrew and Lucas