A couple months ago we talked about the launch of Rides.tv by Fourth Wall Studios, Inc., a website built for transmedia stories that integrate video, cell phone calls, text messages, and more. At the time, the offerings on the site were promising, but fairly meager. Recently, however, some new shows have been popping up. Keep in mind that Rides.tv is technically still in beta, so there’s no guarantee that any of these series will stick around, but here are three cool new transmedia story experiences to check out:
Claire is a self-described “dramedy” which follows the adventures of a young woman who can read the thoughts of those around her. The first episode deals with her encounters at a local convenience store. This was actually pretty witty/cute and we’d be glad to see more, but it was hard to see how the transmedia elements added much that couldn’t have been done with traditional video storytelling.
The Gamblers is a bit less straightforward in its content. The story follows two unnamed, unseen characters whose disembodied voices talk over the events taking place on screen. In this case, they are making bets over what will happen when a stalker-y teenager goes to the top of a building to threaten suicide (or perhaps get attention). What makes this set-up clever is that the two voices (which you are hearing over your phone) are really the main characters of the experience, not the characters on screen. The Gamblers also introduces an interactive component where viewers can place their own bet on the outcome and see how others bet. All-in-all, this is probably the most innovative story we have seen on Rides.tv, but that said, our experience was plagued by technical bugs that really got in the way of a smooth viewing.
Dark Wall is Rides.tv’s new horror anthology line where every episode is its own discrete story. So far there are two episodes. The first, Whispers, is a troubling piece about a disturbed child and a handicapped father in a rural farmhouse together. Besides being a bit unsettling, the story doesn’t seem to accomplish much, but it is still a decent little web-diversion. The second episode, The Swarming, just came out yesterday and is certainly the more jarring of the two. The plot is so brief and so open to interpretation that there is really no point in trying to outline it here. Just take 10 minutes to check it out for yourself. It’s worth noting that The Swarming makes minimal use of the transmedia elements available (with the exception of a couple videos and one very predictable, but effective, phone call). Even if it is a little disappointing to see these toys going unused, it’s nice to see that Rides.tv isn’t trying to shoehorn in a bunch of transmedia effects where none are needed.
What kind of stories would you like to see get this transmedia treatment? What do you think of the “rides” so far?