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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Reddit

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If one were to ask a college student if they know of Reddit, the most common answer would be yes. reddit is a very unique website when it comes to online forums. It was founded by two 22 year old graduates from University of Virginia in June of 2005(The History of Reddit). Reddit users, also known as redditors, flock to reddit to be up to date on news and topics currently trending. The idea of reddit is that any user can submit an entry under certain “subreddits”, which are subsections of reddit where anything can be found, ranging from cute animals to horrific pictures. Now you may be thinking, what is the big deal about this reddit website? What makes reddit so extraordinary is that it is an anonymous forum of social media that is direct at the general population. It allows one to be themselves and not worry about what their peers would think. Accounts can also be created in a matter of seconds, and the website is very easy to navigate which draws lots of users in. Interestingly, many of these ideas can be linked to Tom Gunnings article “Re-Newing Old Technologies.”

In Tom Gunnings article, he states “Astonishment is inherently an unstable and temporary experience. One finds it difficult to be continually astonished by the same thing”(Gunning). Unlike Instagram where photos and videos can only be posted, reddit is filled with anything you can think of on the internet. Based on the subreddits you visit, you look at anything you want. This is very important in our generation because we are known as the “We Generation”, meaning we want certain things and have things personalized our way. There is always something new on reddit every day which leads one to believe that this website will thrive for a long amount of time. It also states in the article that “new technologies evoke not only a short-lived wonder based on unfamiliarity which greater and constant exposure will overcome, but also a possibly less dramatic but more enduring sense of the uncanny”(Gunning). This can be related to almost any activity. For example, a new game may be trending in the app store. The game may be the most fun game on your phone, but in the next week, it will be old and a new one will replace it. This seems to be a common occurring theme, showing in many social media sites like Myspace and Friendster. However, reddit is only growing in size and continues to impress me every day as more people join. It gives a new insight to other peoples lives, some you may even know personally.

Reddit can become very addicting, and it is apparent in the image of “What my parents think I do” in the meme. My friends constantly think it is making me more stupid, but I really am much more up to date on things going on in the news. Society tends to think of redditors as the common computer geek, seen in the picture above. Also, journalists have been caught using articles and even stealing comments word for word pertaining to a certain subject. Unfortunately, my girlfriends knows what kind of stuff can get posted on there like nude pictures, and I think the picture is pretty self explanatory. The last picture of what I really do seems to capture the whole idea of reddit. It is super engaging, and your identity is unknown which is symbolized by the guy wearing a ski mask over his face.

Citations

Vreeswijk, S.. N.p.. Web. 30 Jan 2014. <http://www.stikkymedia.com/blog/history-reddit&gt;.

Gunning, T. 2003. ‘Re-newing Old Technologies: Astonishment, Second Nature and the Uncanny in Technology From the Previous Turn-of the-Century’, in Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (eds) Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press