For anyone wishing to explore their city through their ears and the voice of the future, Will Carver, a student with the Interactive Media Division at the University of Southern California, has created a “location-based sci-fi folk album” that unravels as the player pieces together musical clues streaming from locations in Culver City, California. By connecting to the game network in Culver City via cell phone or PDA, the player is able to unlock a musical story while moving between the 20 nodes as they walk the path of the composition from day to day, turning Carver’s location33 into a week-long, interactive aural experience for the player.
The story of location33 revolves around Mack and his future robot self, Mack-bot, who is trying to collect songs from his past in order to produce an album, as the future has forgotten how to make music. Within the narrative are also embedded clues that the player collects to formulate a solution which they then enter into the Location_33 website, unlocking new mp3s. The solution to a master puzzle will unlock the entire album, 20 songs in all. By changing how they walk through the city, players are able to manipulate how the story unfolds, gathering bits of the story as they discover the various streaming audio nodes throughout Culver City. The kind of audio interaction used in location33 demonstrates a new form of interactive fiction, one that turns the listener into an active participant in the generation of an album by engaging them in the discovery and unlocking of Mack-bot’s past memories through music and game play.
Anyone in or around Culver City, take advantage of the opportunity to experience something new and unusual while you wander around downtown. Hopefully, Carver will continue to produce innovative, new, interactive experiences in the future – Britney Spears could use some help.