Tag: smith and tinker

Lost Souls: Burning Sky Opens New Trilogy for Young Adults

2012 marks the end of the world in the Mayan calendar, and, in Lost Souls: Burning Sky, 13-year-old Nathan Richards must play the Game of Lost Souls to win mankind a place in the new world cycle. But apparently, Nathan is barely passing the 7th grade and doesn’t know how to play this game. To make matters worse, lost souls keep bothering Nathan with their pesky demands for revenge and redemption . . . but they’re the ones with the key knowledge that Nathan needs. Oh, and did I mention Nathan has to beat the Mayan god Kukulkan at the Game of Lost Souls, or else humanity is doomed? Yes, that’s right . . . doomed.

Lost Souls: Burning Sky is the latest book-plus offering created by game designer, author, and Smith & Tinker founder Jordan Weisman, well-known in the ARG community for his involvement on The Beast and, more recently, for his work in transmedia publishing with the Nanovor universe, Personal Effects: Dark Arts with J.C. Hutchins, and the Cathy’s Book series with Sean Stewart. Written by science fiction and fantasy writer Mel Odom and published by Running Press Book Publishers, Lost Souls: Burning Sky features an original board game, which can be played online through Game Table Online. The object of the game is to get more pieces/points than your opponent into the center of the stylized Mayan calendar, and the straightforward gameplay is something like the African game mancala. To play, look for the “Play Now!” buttons on the Lost Souls website. You will need to download and run a browser pop-up application using Java WebStart to play.

It is not clear if there is a full transmedia experience planned for the Lost Souls trilogy. However, the website for the game seems to have some placeholders for future updates, and, there are few hidden extras to be found on the site.

Click Here to order Lost Souls: Burning Sky from Amazon.com.
Click Here for our coverage of Nanovor.
Click Here for our coverage of the Cathy’s Book series.
Click Here for our coverage of Personal Effects: Dark Art.

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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