A few weeks back I received an invitation to the upcoming Winter School on “Transmedial Worlds in Convergent Media Culture”, February 24-28, 2014 at the University of Tuebingen. Today the finalized program has been revealed – and it looks amazing!
The Winter School aims to examine the forms and functions of a wide variety of transmedial worlds from a range of different (inter-)disciplinary perspectives. Among the keynote speakers are distinguished international scholars like Espen Aarseth, Lisbeth Klastrup, Bernard Perron, or Marie-Laure Ryan (click here for a full list) – as well as no less than 20 paper presentations by junior researchers from all over Europe. No wonder the school’s five-day schedule is filled to the brim with exciting topics ranging from theoretical aspects of transmedial worlds (ontology, authorship, theories of fiction/representation) to case studies on film-, comic-, or video game-based transmedial worlds.
The Winter School is organized by Jan-Noël Thon, University of Tuebingen, and supported by the Institutional Strategy of the University of Tuebingen (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ZUK 63). Everyone is free to participate, but registration is required (no lather than January 31, 2014). For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the university website for the full program.
My own paper wittily titled “The Game of Game of Thrones” will be presented on Friday, February 28, and will focus on medium-specific strategies of adapting a transmedial world like G.R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire as a video game (or rather: three different video games). Here’s the full abstract:
The Game of Game of Thrones.
The Transmedial World of A Song of Ice and Fire and its Video Game Adaptations
In recent years video games have not only become an integral part of most major transmedia storytelling franchises, but have also influenced the narrative and aesthetic conventions of other media, especially film (see Leschke/Venus 2010, Beil 2010, Eder/Thon 2012). Thus, it is not only true that most transmedial worlds embrace the exploratory nature of video games (Klastrup/Tosca 2004), but also that some fictions – i.e. those with certain ‘ludic’ properties – lend themselves particularly well to an adaptation as a video game. In my paper, I argue that the novel-based transmedial world of George R.R. Martins A Song of Ice and Fire is such a world, as it does not only feature an appropriate mythos, topos, and ethos (Klastrup/Tosca 2004), but also a distinctive game logic, which reverberates in the series’ alternate title A Game of Thrones.
Drawing on a model of video game analysis proposed elsewhere (Schröter 2010, Schröter/Thon 2013) I will analyze narrative, ludic and social features of three different video games based on the same transmedial world: the real-time strategy game A Game of Thrones: Genesis (Cyanide/Focus Home Interactive 2011), the action/role-playing game Game of Thrones (Atlus/Focus Home Interactive 2012), and the Facebook game Game of Thrones Ascent (Disruptor Beam 2013). As will be shown, all three games follow very different strategies to „identify and implement the core elements of the ur-world“ (Klastrup/Tosca 2004), mostly informed by generic conventions and (assumed) player preferences. Thus, the comparison also casts a light on medium-specific strengths and weaknesses regarding the video game’s contribution to a wider transmedia storytelling context.