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.

TopGun1

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.

top-gun-psn

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.

top-gun-tom-cruise-photo

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.

A History of “The History” of Breaking Benjamin

I chose to do this post on the post-alternative rock band known as Breaking Benjamin. They have been my favorite band since I heard their first album Saturate. They made their debut in 1998 but have gone through a variation of different performers in their first few years.

Their page wasn’t created until 2005, allowing seven years of information to get bottled up, and is currently being updated to this date. There are a total number of 6,399 edits on this page with about 8 recent “distinct authors” if that’s what you want to call them. It was quite peculiar when I went through a list of the recent edits that were made on the page. Many of the 6,399 edits were between users who were pretty much just undoing what the other had just posted. It almost creates a worry for the user regarding whether or not to trust the page with so many edits being corrected back and forth. The page will probably change while the user is on it trying to get information. If he refreshes his page about that topic, he’s going to have to change some of his information to consider it accurate. Henry Jenkins, author of the article “What Wikipedia Can Teach Us About New Media Studies”, describes this particular website as a perfect example of Collective Intelligence. The article seems to have a decent amount of information about Breaking Benjamin’s discography and progress over the years but has merely 2 sentences about what musical style they are.

Henry Jenkins continues by stating “What holds a knowledge community together is not the possession of knowledge — which can be relatively static — but the social process of acquiring knowledge […] The Wikipedians bond by working together to fill gaps in their collective knowledge.” This is what allows the information to be considered collective intelligence. Various authors assisting in filling in the blanks that other editors have either overlooked or missed. This is also why Jenkins mentions how different people can feel so opposite about their edits on various pages. Jenkins states that “They are encouraged to take an inventory of what they know and what they can contribute […] On the other hand, participants are encouraged to see themselves as members of a knowledge community and to trust their collaborators to fill in information they don’t know and challenge their claims about the world.” Jenkin’s description of a sand castle being like the Wikipedia page also helped give me an idea of just what collective intelligence was, which is essentially allowing other people who you don’t know to help with the castle or the “collection of intelligence” without any prior credibility.  This page was a great example of collective intelligence on the music portion of the page and is hugely popular, as one can see by being viewed almost 50,000 times in as little as a month, but doesn’t allow much room for opinion, except if you’re posting your particular interpretations of the lyrics or band decisions.

Works Cited:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaking_benjamin

Jenkins, Henry. “WHAT WIKIPEDIA CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE NEW MEDIA LITERACIES (Part two)”. Web log post. Confessions of an AcaFan. N.p., 27 June 2007. Web. 13 February 2014.