What’s your favourite Storyworld?

I’ve been writing an E-Course about Storyworld building so they are really on my mind – all possible shapes, sizes and flavours.

Here are the most memorable Storyworlds from my pop culture diet of 44 years…

(You will notice that there’s not an ARG in sight! Why do you think that is?)

Top 5 Storyworlds

The Beatles – their entire career to me is a Storyworld. I was thinking about this and trying to work out why. A good friend of mine recalled that when he was growing up he thought the Beatles was a country. That really confirmed my own suspicions. It’s not the fact that they were multimedia as much as they had a lot of intrigue. Whereas Elvis, even though his career was similar, was not a Storyworld.

2000AD – I always found the crossover between different stories and characters to be very exciting. In fact lots of comics; Marvel, Beano, Dandy used these techniques to great effect but 2000AD positively encouraged it and I always found it massively compelling. Memorable character, story, writer and universe crossovers were; Judge Dredd: “The Cursed Earth”, “Rogue Trooper and Mercy Heights” & the fan defined “Smithiverse”.

Wikipedia covers this in detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_AD_crossovers

Star Wars – I don’t need to say much about this storyworld except these 3 words…. FOUR BILLION DOLLARS!

The Matrix – not my favourite film or storyworld but worthy of mention. The Matrix kick started the whole idea of Storyworlds and Transmedia. I think it was down to timing as much as by design. It was the first time the audience had the back channel of the internet to obsess and discuss on, making everything ‘to the power of 1000’. The main reason this is discussed at length by every aspiring Transmedia Producer is because the films had numerous offshoots (Anime, Books, Comics, Games etc) that interlinked in a narratively cool and smart way. I can’t argue with that!

Springfield The Simpsons Storyworld is my favourite. I don’t believe this was ever designed in a Transmedia way – it seems organic – based on comics and cartoon story logic. (Bendy and surreal). However, it expands out in a proper Transmedia way and has rules. Like when they do ‘3 stories in 1’ the characters are allowed to be very different to their normal selves. Also, when going backwards and forwards in time the characters are aware of themselves in other time zones. It’s great that it’s geographic place and the characters continue to develop over time.


Come on now, what’s your favourite Storyworld and why?

About the author

I run Bellyfeel which gives me the opportunity to develop innovations in media, education and entertainment, plus exploring the future of storytelling. More here...
6 Responses
  1. Ashok

    Right call in having The Matrix in there. From a story perspective a lot of it was flawed, but the ideas about multi-platform storytelling they put into practice were very pioneering. After playing Enter the Matrix (and feeling disappointed) I then re-watched The Matrix Reloaded (and felt equally as disappointed) and it did actually add something to the story to know where the characters had been throughout the duration of the film.

    I also agree with Springfield. I think there’s something in the way Matt Groening develops his stories that lends itself to Storyworld techniques, as I would put Futurama up there too.

    Even though it’s not utilised outside of the main story of the TV show, I think Arrested Development has a great Storyworld. It has its own corporations, TV networks, magazines, websites, and occasionally delves into their birth and development, and there could be a lot of events taking place with all of the many side characters and these establishments outside of the main story.

  2. Pete M

    Interesting post. I would like to see more analysis of interactive case studies rather than these which are not. And come on the Beatles are not a Storyworld!

  3. the beatles were created as a band by happistance… not much more-design. the FAB FOUR conceit, wasn’t one… until a member died, and the then “leader” of the group… Pete best was forced out by Epstein.

    now.. the MONKEES…. well thats another Transmedia Story.;).. and one much more important to the process from the same basic time and ideas..

    if you want to look to GB for 1960s transmedia, that which informed the 2000ad guys, then gerry anderson was your guy.. 21c media did everthing lucas everntually did..a decade or so before…

  4. What’s your favourite Storyworld?

    I’d have to say AIWL. We can’t loose track of the classic building blocks. Reasons I choose this is that it sticks in my mind, lives with me and keeps popping back. Ask anyone to throw a cliche on a White Rabbit.. Ask then about the top hat. Sure to come back with something relative.. It sticks and its stuck.. A mind full of relatives connecting Real World and your Story world. Appeals to all levels and clean cut family viewing.. Gets my vote every time.. Magical zzZZ

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