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Ezio’s Story: A Transmedia Wonder

The Assassin’s Creed franchise is no stranger to going across multiple platforms to tell a story. It spans over numerous video games, books, and even films. But the franchise has one character that’s the epitome of their method of transmedia storytelling, Ezio Auditore Da Firenze. Mr. Auditore has had more time in the limelight than any other character in the series.

Before Ezio’s tale is told , there is a series of short films called Assassin’s Creed: Lineage, where the protagonist is Ezio’s father, Giovanni. Then Ezio’s saga begins with Assassin’s Creed II, where it starts with him being born and then ending with him discovering one of the best-kept secrets of the world. Then it moves on to Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, wherein he tries to find out more behind what he found at the end of the previous game. After that, there’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood The Novel, that fills in some of the gaps of what occurs between Brotherhood and the next game, Revelations. Assassin’s Creed Revelations occurs during Ezio’s later life, wherein Ezio discovers what happened to one of the best assassins who ever lived, and why he was so important to all the secrets that Ezio discovered in the previous games. Ezio’s story ends with Assassin’s Creed: Embers, a short film where his final hours of his family are shown.

Ezio is a remarkable character, and Ubisoft felt the same. The lengths they took, and the mediums they used, to tell his story show how producers are starting to truly take advantage of transmedia.

Impress Me

I’ve been reading this neat textbook called Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide by Henry Jenkins, and a section of the chapter I’m reading (Buying into American Idol) raises an argument in my mind. The Impress Me ad that was run by Apple Box Productions paints consumers an ugly color. The ad sends the message that we, the viewers, have some sort of malice when we are flipping through channels. This is a warped perception of how consumers are. It’s generally agreed that people feel apathy more than anything else when they channel surf. Nontheless, this is how a majority of marketing departments see us, making them take on more aggressive ad campaigns, with more flashing colors and loud noises. All this just leads to irritated customers (when Congress has to pass a bill on commercial volume, you know something went wrong).

I guess what I’m getting at is companies should just take it easy, and be less abrasive with their advertisements. If someone from some marketing department is reading this, just view your audience as more apathetic than anything else. And for God’s sake, don’t try so hard to be funny. Having actors spout random babble doesn’t make for good humor. Coherence is key.

Okay, rant over. Have a good day. Smile at someone. All that jazz.

A Day with Adam Hammer

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On Friday, March 28th, Adam Hammer came and talked to my Foundations of New Media class.”Who is this Adam Hammer,” you may ask. Adam Hammer is a singer/songwriter, as well as the Director of Media Relations over at St. Cloud University’s Outlook Magazine. He’s a pretty cool dude. We discussed what’s important when it comes to journalistic writing, and what it takes to be a good writer. I was able to come away with some useful tidbits, such as the different types of writing for journalism, like the hourglass and the inverted pyramid. I’m glad he had the time to stop by.

To those interested, here are the links to his personal website (http://www.tattooedfolk.com/) as well as Outlook Magazine (http://outlook.stcloudstate.edu/).

One of Many Blog Success Stories

What was originally a small blog site started by Pete Cashmore in 2005, Mashable has become one of the most-visited tech websites on the web. “Mashable’s 34 million monthly unique visitors and 14 million social media followers have become one of the most engaged digital networks in the world.” According to Alexa, Mashable is the 214th most visited site in the world, and 141st in the United States.

Link: http://mashable.com/

Story of Facebook’s Stocks

“Many people are getting rich, but given most of the people who matter going forward view it as a total failure, this could be one of the biggest tech IPO strategy blunders ever.”

This was the initial tale told by Forbes’ blogger Patrick Moorhead when during Facebook’s IPO, and he wasn’t alone. When Facebook’s IPO launched, nearly every financial outlet was advising to sell, sell, sell. And for the most part, critic’s inflections haven’t changed. MarketWatch blogger Jeff Reeves says that investors aren’t “investors aren’t guaranteed a happy ending” even though the stocks are up 220% since the IPO.

What does this all mean, some may ask. It means that maybe new new media outlets aren’t ready for stock markets yet. Because on the first week after Facebook’s IPO, several other new new media sites like LinkedIn were down around 5%.

Maybe it’s time for the consumers to become the investors as well as the producers. Maybe that’s already beginning to happen. Hopefully if it is, we’ll see more evidence of it very soon.

Machinima: An Unfortunate Tragedy

So I was on Youtube the other day watching some videos, and I came across a channel I used to frequent, and it reminded me of a medium that isn’t nearly as popular as it was a few years back. That medium is known as machinima, and it’s tale is a tragic one (as the title implies).

Just so everyone knows what a machimina is, I’ll explain. A machinima is a medium that uses video games to make a movie. When used correctly, Machinima is an ideal example of the blending of English and New Media, since modern outlets are used for classic English narrative.

“Why, this sounds great,” you may say, “how could it have lost any popularity?” Well, that question can be answered with a telling of the story of a website named Machinima. This website used to be the de facto gathering place for all things of the same name, from finding voice actors and writers to the short films themselves. Machinima even had a Youtube channel, where it would post user-made videos. Over the years, machinima became very niche, and the website, and Youtube channel, of the same name started losing visitors. So how do they regain their lost viewership? By becoming a brand and only hiring famous Youtubers for it’s channel. These Youtubers would post “Let’s Plays” and “How-To’s” for all the biggest games. Now Machinima’s Youtube channel has 10.6 million subscribers, but it’s not even close to it’s namesake.

While there are still obscure machinimas still being posted on different websites across the Internet, it’s not nearly as big as it used to be. Here’s to hoping it makes a comeback.