Tag: online soap opera

Exercise Your Spirit of Adventure: Facebook’s First Soap Opera

spiritofadventureHelen Hobbes, forty-nine-year-old British homemaker, has a quiet and charmed life with her husband of twenty-eight years Bruce and two grandchildren, but she is restless and yearning for excitement beyond deciding what to make for dinner. While reading a second-hand copy of Madame Bovary, Helen discovers three worn diary pages inside, narrating what might have been a downed airman’s last days in the desert. Overtaken by her curiosity, Helen leaves everything behind and embarks on a worldwide journey to uncover the airman’s fate in Spirit of Adventure.

A “visual novel” presented through a Facebook app, Spirit of Adventure combines an artful and engaging narrative with embedded gameplay through puzzles and riddles. Spirit of Adventure is created by “social storytellers” nDreams, the makers of the wildly successful and innovative Xi, the first console-based alternate reality game that brought over 5 million players into a virtual world on Playstation Home and out on the streets worldwide. nDreams is also behind the currently running game, Lewis Hamilton: Secret Life, in which players help the Formula 1 driver recover stolen artwork from around the world.

Each Thursday, a new chapter in Helen’s story unfolds, as she travels around the world in search of the airman’s identity. Every person Helen meets along the way is an entrĂ©e into another life, another story, and sometimes another puzzle that brings in an otherwise marginal character deeper into the story. While solving puzzles and progressing in the plot, players collect mementos of Helen’s journey, such as a matchbook from a Paris cafe or a little plastic rhino. Perhaps an experiment in monetizing storytelling, players can subscribe to further content from the airman’s point-of-view, but otherwise Spirit of Adventure is free to play. Slated for twenty-six weeks, Spirit of Adventure is currently in on its sixth week.

The Beeb’s a Bit Of A Wannabe

wannabes.JPGYo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want

If what you want is to be friends with the cast of characters of the BBC’s Wannabes, apparently you have to live in the U.K. Following on the heels of Jamie Kane, their successful foray into the world of ARGs, the BBC has created a 14-episode interactive online soap opera in which the online discussions of the fans will drive the story, promising that:

“Now you can REALLY get involved in the sexy scandals and temper tantrums of the Wannabes as they lie, cheat and blag their way to success – with a little help from their friends -duh…that would be you then…”

For those who spend a good portion of their time yelling at their TV screens, convinced that if the characters would only listen everything would turn out better, or for those who can’t understand why the producers of their favorite games continue to ignore the superior wisdom of their online fan communities, the chance to play with a model that adjusts to their whims may provide a certain long-awaited visceral satisfaction.

For those who enjoyed Jamie Kane or like interactive storytelling in general, Wannabes promises some juicy, soapy fun. Players can score “friendship points” by helping the Wannabes make decisions, and really good friends may get private emails or access to special videos. Unfortunately for wannabe players in the U.S., the characters appear not to be interested in foreign friends at this time. If you’re in the UK, check the episode schedule here to catch up and let us know what you think!