In ages past, storytelling was the domain of revered storytellers around campfires and taverns. The art changed dramatically with the advent of the printing press. With books, one didn’t need to be a master orator to be a good storyteller. And as towns and cities grew, travelling bands of performers gave rise to theatre which everyone knew overcame its transient form and became celluloid immortals with television and cinemas.
But what will happen in the 21st century? Sure, books and movies and the odd grandfather spinning tales over dinner will still be a fixture. I’m referring to the new boundaries that the art of storytelling will explore.
Avatar was a marriage of digital imagery with film making but it was still a film nonetheless. What if you went the other way? What if you placed film making, and with a stretch, storytelling, into all things digital (think interwebz connectivity where the user has control through clicking)?
What you’ll end up with is interactive storytelling. Now, that’s not terribly new. For decades dice rolling nerds have played out Dungeons and Dragons where they weave their own stories. And recently, companies are injecting trawled info from the viewer’s Facebook profile into ad campaigns. However, 21st century tech has enabled digital offerings on an entirely new level. One that is gorgeous to behold and gripping in its delivery, not staid and mimicking still life.
You can already see baby steps being taken by this new form of delivery in video games (yes, dead horse. *beat*). Companies such as Bioware, the creators of epic fantasy sagas Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Mass Effect and Dragon Age, offer a tantalising peek to a potential “what if?” The following is a trailer for Dragon Age, best described as an epic tale (takes you 50hrs+ to finish the game) worthy of D.Eddings.
It’s not just about looking good, though it definitely doesn’t hurt. The name of the game is storytelling and another title that carries that mantle fairly well is Mass Effect. It feels like you’re watching a movie, where you get to decide what the main protagonist get to do (and who to romance). In fact, the cast gathered to provide the voice overs for the characters hail from Hollywood themselves. Some are more familiar than the others, but none of them can be said to be Bolo Santosi.
So, storytelling via cinemas will not be extinct anytime soon no matter what anti-piracy advocates will have you believe. Not until a new method for absorbing media is invented (wifi enabled 3D virtual glasses anyone? or perhaps cornea implants by Apple called iEye?). Even then there’ll still be the television via iPad and the wrinkly grandfather. What may very well change is how stories will unfold depending on user input. No, you don’t have to write out each ending. We already have algorithms for that.
The iPad is a quark for digesting information. Or a quirky quark for alliterate whores out there. Wielding it as Prometheus would a lighted torch, the way the old world interacts with videos, pictures and bits of alphabets suddenly becomes unacceptable.
If “I want one!” popped up in your head as Tony Stark did porn with his user interface (and by extension Jarvis), then you’d definitely appreciate what the touch interface on the iPad is capable of. To be fair the display still isn’t enmeshed with googles of data like Tony’s but the potential permutations and flexibility in presenting information is still gigantitaninormous!
We’re still in the nascent days of commercial touch based computing but with millions around the world already comfortable with it, it’s only a matter of time until the Library of Congress is indexed and connected seamlessly for us to twirl, enlarge and examine as we’d please.
So forget tablet PCs, open a museum for your mouse and use your stylus to hold up your hair – for ladies and Korean boys – because once your fingers meet the iPad there’s no going back.
Dating someone who is taller, smarter or richer usually spells big trouble. Okay, perhaps not collectively but there’s always that niggling point that seems to matter more than the rest. It might be other seemingly inane things too. Like how much they can relate to the humor in The Simpsons. Or knowing the difference between a Cylon and a toaster. Even their grasp of colour coordination in their wardrobe (I’ve had this laid on me before).
There is always that one thing we value in our relationship above all else. Knowing what it is is important to see us through during tough times. It’ll also make it easier to look for Neo aka The One. Jonathan Coulton*, o geek muse, wrote a song about exactly that.
*in case you’re not familiar, he distributes his music for free and his fans reciprocate by creating machinima music videos.
No, not really. I won’t be surprised if it becomes a meme amongst local gamers though. Just Cause 2 is a pretty big title, with huge advertising dollars and television spots, and is produced by Square Enix, the very studio that gave us the legendary Final Fantasy series. So it came as a surprise that a disconcertingly familiar accent greeted me during a cutscene. Granted, if they had wanted exotic voice acting they probably found it in Mrs Phua Chu Kang. No one, beyond this sunny island, has correctly identified it. It is that of the Singaporean heartlander. Hello world, my name is Bolo Santosi.
No, this isn’t about a zombie invasion. Anyone working on any decent sized project knows that there is a ton of things that needs to be tracked and tagged. Teams have their deliverables, gnomes have to be fed and someone needs to look for the suddenly missing intern.
If your office usually degenerates into chaos worse than a Michael Bay meets James Cameron action flick, then you can definitely use one of these nifty Panic Status Boards. Read more about it here.
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