Here is a link to the search story I created. My goals with this search story were to create a humorous and feel good story about an older father trying to connect with his teenage sons. The inspiration for this story came from a Tik Tok that I had watched and which I included part of at the end of the search story. I paid close attention to trying to make it as realistic as possible in a humorous way by using “stereotypes” of older folks. For example, I started the story on Google, but decided to search “yahoo.com” as my first search. I also typed the entire search story very slowly using only my index finger, which is something my dad himself does when he types. I added a sad background track to the beginning of the story to simulate the idea that the father feels like he cannot connect with his kids who keep calling him a “boomer.” However, the video ends in a lighthearted and happy fashion, with the Tik Tok of the dad dancing with his sons and the happy expression on his face throughout the whole situation.
Ash Vlogs is a very creative, unique, and well put together alternate reality game (ARG) that was put together starting in 2018, and has continued to this day. Without giving away too many spoilers the story revolves around a young woman named “Ash” who has recently started a Youtube channel to vlog about her seemingly normal personal life, however things soon take a turn for the worse and the story grows into a much creepier darker mystery full of twists and turns. Due to the more mature nature that the Ash Vlogs content eventually grows into, a murder mystery story, I feel as if the intended audience for this ARG is more upper teenaged and adult players and viewers; this ARG was most certainly not intended for young audiences as it does get dark at certain times. With that being said, the ARG was definitely intended for people who enjoyed mystery and possibly already played ARG’s as keeping up with this story also takes a lot of time and effort in itself and the casual viewer may get lost or grow bored with it pretty easily. However, the deeper mystery behind the story, overall good production of the narrative, good acting by all characters involved helped Ash Vlogs to become one of the most well known and arguable successful ARG’s on the internet.
The Ash Vlogs series has almost all of the storytelling themes that Bryan Alexander describes in his book The New Digital Storytelling. The Ash Vlogs series has played out over multiple years and contains many different episodes and videos intertwined across multiple social media platforms. Through this, Ash Vlogs has been able to master the theme of a serial structure. If it were not for the success at perfecting this theme, Ash Vlogs would not still be around to this day, over 2 years after it was originally created. Not only this, but as I have previously mentioned, the ARG behind Ash Vlogs takes place over many different social media networks including, but not limited to: YouTube, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. By doing this, the Ash Vlogs ARG uses the concept of multiple proscenia to its advantage and makes players of the game utilize many different avenues to figure out the story.
This ARG is also able to utilize the concepts of personal presence and social framework by allowing those playing the game to directly interact with the story and share their findings with one another. In fact, there are several different Subreddits, wikis, and Discord chats dedicated to solving the mystery behind Ash Vlogs. Not only have the creators of this story been able to utilize multiple online platforms to form their narrative, but there have also been several real world clues that players have had to find themselves. Through this the creators of the story are able to use many different platform affordances that they would not normally be able to by only using one online platform to create the story. Through the use and execution of all these ideas, the Ash Vlogs story has been able to continue for multiple years and is still successful in its own right.
It pains me to be writing this blog post, however it must be done. I like to think of myself as being successful at most things in life, however with every success there must always be failure. However, failure is not always a bad thing. In fact, failure is a very good thing and overall can be more beneficial to you in the long run than success. I think that I have properly earned my fail badge for this semester due to my main shortcoming in life, which is my procrastination. As I write this post for my blog I have come to realize that I am extremely behind on my portfolio assignments for this class. In fact, I have only done a few and there are only a couple more days left of the semester, so I am doing my best to knock out as many assignments as I possibly can today and tomorrow. I could do a lot of things like I have done in the past and blame this procrastination on the current situation that we all find ourselves in with the online schooling and the COVID-19 pandemic. Or I could blame it on the fact that I am working a full time job while also trying to start my own business for after I graduate in December. However, this time I am not going to do that. In fact the only thing that has really put me in the situation is myself and my nature to procrastinate on things and the lack of motivation that I have had. It is too late at this point to make excuses and try to justify things that I know I could have controlled. I know I had the time to work on one or two portfolio assignments a week even from home. However, for the most part I chose to f*** off and be absent minded and play Minecraft and Call of Duty: Warzone with my friends. Nevertheless, the time has come where I have to put my nose to the grindstone (or really my fingers to the keyboard) and grind out the portfolio assignments that I need to pass this class. I honestly hope anyone who is reading this is genuinely motivated by my own failures and learns from the mistakes that I have made so that you do not have to make them yourself.
Design Prospectus: The Brad Stephenson Blog
A little late on this post, but here is my design prospectus for my final project.
Log Line: An investigative journalist investigates a mystery in the small town of St. Agatha, Maine. As the story progresses he finds himself being pulled deeper into the depths of the mystery.
- Intro to story in blog form inside of Twine
- Link to Twitter page of main character
- A conversation takes place
- The story divulges into two pathways that the player can choose
- Depending on which pathway the player takes there are multiple endings
- Both endings are cliffhanger endings with the possibility to make a sequel or continue the story
DNN Project: The Brad Stephenson Blog
Here is a link to my Twine game and final project.
What is the nature of the concept?
An investigative journalist uses social media and the internet to track down members of a local cult. The more he delves into the situation the more he learns and the darker the search for the truth gets.
Who is the audience for the story?
Because I believe that the story could lead down a darker path and may involve scenarios such as murder and kidnapping etc. this story is intended for a more mature audience.
What media do you have in mind?
I plan on creating part of the story in twine with some search story videos and some social media links to intertwine with the main line of the story. I also like the idea of the journalist starting a blog regarding his investigation.
What existing resources will you draw upon to create it (i.e., are there specific texts – video, audio, images, or even stories) that will serve as part of your narrative or a significant reference for its form?
There are not necessarily any existing media that I have found yet, possibly some 911 calls or pictures/videos from existing mysterious cases. I am drawing inspiration from season 1 of True Detective. Although the show approaches the story from the perspective of detectives, I plan on doing it from the idea of a journalist investigating the story.
Search Story (work in progress)
For my search story I plan on doing a sort of murder mystery search story from the prospective of a possible criminal. I will be using my computers built in recording feature and will add music to create a mysterious ambiance to the story. I am currently having trouble coming up with the exact search terms, but I am currently working on writing out a list of them and what to look at on each page. It is also possible that this may turn into a sort of deep web browsing search story using the tor browser. I am still toying with this idea, but I should have more time to work on it this weekend.
For my GIF assignment I chose to make a GIF from one of my favorite movies of all time, The Breakfast Club. This GIF perfectly encapsulates one of the key scene in the movie. This film is about a group of students at a high school who are all in detention for different reasons and who all are completely different and unique in their own ways. Each student represents a classic trope about high school cliques such as: the jock, the nerd, the prom queen, the weird girl, and the misfit. However, this scene represents a turning point in the film when all of the students, who previously did not like one another, begin to become friends. The gif in particular is quite amusing considering that before this the “jock” character was heavily opposed to smoking a joint in detention. However, after a quick cut the other characters see him walking out of a room filled with smoke and proceeding to go crazy. This was a happy and hilarious moment of the film and after this the characters only grow a stronger connection.
@TheSunVanished Critical Review
On April 30, 2018 a Twitter account by @TheSunVanished tweeted out a series of tweets that would start an incredibly compelling and interesting online ARG and social media story that would last for years to come. It all started with one simple tweet “Help.” Followed by “It’s late in the morning and still dark outside.” Then finally the setup to this whole narrative is dropped in a tweet simply asking, “Where is the sun.” @TheSunVanished eventually leads to its audience of people from Twitter to follow an unnamed protagonist through an alternate earth where the sun has literally disappeared from the sky and an apocalyptic scenario follows. Because of the darkness of the story (pun intended) I believe the audience of the @TheSunVanished are Twitter users who are fans of a suspenseful and scary story with mystery. The whole ARG of @TheSunVanished is definitely a success not only in the fact that the account itself has gained more than 560 thousand followers, but due to its compelling story and the affordances of Twitter allowing for interaction between the creator and those not involved in the narrative itself.
Through the platform of Twitter the creator of @TheSunVanished is able to do many things that other platforms may not allow. For example, the narrator was able to use the idea of social framework by posting different polls throughout the story, on what choices they should make at different points in the story, which I assume would have different outcomes depending on what the audience chose. So although this story is told from a first person point of view the audience is able to interact with the protagonist of the story leading to a greater sense of personal presence overall. The creator is also able to include different pictures and videos throughout the story in order to further engage the audience and make the story even more compelling and scary. Because of the serial structure of the narrative it has been able to evolve and develop over a couple of years now and continues to this day. Also, with this being an elaborate social media story constructed over many years the idea of multiple proscenia is heavily in play. For example in doing research on this narrative I was able to find with a quick Google search multiple Youtube videos, wikis, subreddits, and blog posts discussing this story. I believe the compelling nature of the story, coupled with the ability to engage the audience in multiple different ways, as well as the organic reach of audience members being able to retweet the various posts is what ultimately led to the success of @TheSunVanished.