Tag: Nanovor

Sentient Silicon: A Nanovor Primer

lab-rats-groupInside your electronic devices, pre-historic silicon-based monsters are locked in a constant cycle of battle and resurrection. Hanover High School student Lucas Nelson discovered these “Nanovors” using a microscope he cobbled together using his cell phone, some 9V batteries and a laptop computer, and realized the Nanovor could be controlled by zapping them with tiny microvolts. With the help of his eccentric science teacher “Doc Zap” Sapphire, Lucas designed special Nanoscopes that allow his classmates to fight each other with their Nanovor swarms. Thanks to transmedia game designers Smith and Tinker, you can experience Nanovor along with the adventures of Lucas and his friends, the Lab Rats, through a video game, online webseries, novels, comic books, or through your very own Nanoscope that lets you battle against your friends or play solo missions.

Although it is possible to enter Nanovor’s transmedia universe through any of the aforementioned media, I would suggest getting your feet wet by watching the Nanovor webseries, located on both the game’s main page and its YouTube channel. The series follows Lucas and his friends as they discover the Nanovors through two seasons of short, 2-3 minute long videos. The videos provide a thorough explanation of the world and its rules, and is set to fast-paced animation and punctuated by snarky dedications at the end of each video. Viewers quickly discover that Nanovor are more than merely pets after discovering Taslos, a “sensei” nanovor capable of communicating with Nanoscope users. Meanwhile, disgraced nanotechnologist Dr. Richard Diamondback hopes to subvert the Nanovor to exact revenge on his former employer, SKY Labs.

After this introduction, players can choose to delve further into the story through the Nanovor novels and comics, or to jump straight into battling Nanovor with the free online game.¬†For those looking to delve further into the game’s backstory, the innocuous-looking Hanover High website contains a number of mini-ARGs requiring players to hack into voicemail accounts and solve puzzles. The first of these challenges can be found at the Hanover High Beekeper Society, an homage to Jordan Weisman’s earlier work on the I Love Bees ARG for Halo 2. Completing the challenges unlocks Nanovor badges that helps with the game’s evolution system, and reveals background on “Doc Zap” and Dr. Diamondback.

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A Particularly ARGish Summer Reading List

pileofbooksThe idea of cross-media convergence is anything but a new concept. In the introduction to Rethinking Media Change, media studies scholar Henry Jenkins noted that in the 11th century, the Bayeux tapestry “combined both text and images, and was explicated in spoken sermons–a multi-media bridge between the oral culture of the peasants and the learned culture of the monasteries.” Many novelists are rediscovering the joys of crafting stories that go beyond the book in some form.

Back in December, Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo predicted that “[i]n the future and especially in 2009, the books that are popular will be much more interactive between the reader and the book.” Her theory will be tested over the next few months, as a plethora of cross-media books are hitting local retailers near you. If you’re interested in exploring a potential future for the publishing industry, here are a few recommendations of books that use cross-media elements to enrich the narrative.

Cathy’s Ring, by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman

On May 4, Jordan Weisman and Sean Stewart released the third and final book in a series of cross-media novels about an ordinary teenaged girl and her not-so-ordinary boyfriend. Each book comes with an evidence packet that continues the story through a series of clues that the novel’s protagonist encountered, in addition to intricate doodles in the margins. Some clues add depth to the story, while others forshadow the shocking revelations in future books. The first book in the series came under fire from consumer activists for its cross-promotional arrangement with Cover Girl.

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