Transmedia Storytelling: Top Gun

The 1986 film Top Gun staring Tom Cruise was about a Naval Aviator who was going through training at the school “Top Gun.” The movie left lots of unknowns about what happened to him later on as he flew fighter jets in the Navy. Shortly after in 1987, the video game Top Gun was released followed by multiple others, the most recent being Top Gun: Combat Zones 2001which was for the Playstation 2.


Transmedia storytelling is a way of telling a story through the use of different digital platforms such as video games. Henry Jankins said, “Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.” Transmedia storytelling allows users to reach further into the story and grasp different perspectives that cannot be seen in the original story.


In the movie Top Gun, many people were left not knowing what happened after he graduated his flight training school. In order to reach out to that audience, video games were made to simulate missions that would have taken place in the future that weren’t shown in the movie. Video game designers used the idea of a multiform story to create a single situation where there were multiple versions of the outcome that were unique to each user. This allowed users to sculpt a unique perspective of what happened because they were in completely control of the game while following a storyline.

After playing the video game, I had a completely new perspective on the movie. Neil Young, who came up with the term “additive comprehension,” explained it as a way to introduce new information to change our views on the original story. Top Gun was known to over exaggerate the life of a Naval Aviator, and portrayed the men as “hot shots” who all women fell for. This theme seemed to change in the video game, and focused much more on the actual life of a Naval Aviator and the missions they execute. Also, the movie portrays Tom Cruise as a ladies man who is in love with a flight instructor on the base, but after playing the video game, this whole idea of him faded away and it really changed my view on the movie.


Works Cited

Murray, Janet Horowitz. “Harbingers of the Holodeck.” Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. New York: Free, 1997. 53. Print.

Jenkins, Henry. “Transmedia Storytelling 101.” Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 22 Mar. 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.


One comment on “Transmedia Storytelling: Top Gun

  1. The first paragraph of the blog does a good job introducing the reader to the subject examined. The blog post utilizes some useful quotes from the readings, but remember to always cite within the text any quotes or paraphrased information from external sources, and to provide the reader with context for quotes by introducing the author and title of the work cited. Remember to define keywords that might be unfamiliar to the reader, such as multiform story. Be sure to spellcheck and read over your writing before submitting a blog post. The blog post uses some great examples to illustrate the application of terms to your subject. The last paragraph could be improved by avoiding vagueness through the use of more specific examples to illustrate your points (How is the portrayal of aviator life different in the video game and movie? What from the video game made your idea of the movie and Tom Cruise change so dramatically?). The way the video game affected the way you view the movie is interesting, and there is an opportunity there to discuss how this kind of transmedia storytelling might be unique or whether it is successful (if it really does contradict the movie).

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