The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

by Goldie on November 1, 2012

in Society and Culture

This was going to be a Facebook post, but then I realized I had more than a little to say on the subject and that this blog has been languishing in disrepair…or at least lack of new content so I thought I’d write my thoughts here.

Strangely this post starts when I was talking with my friend Derek Arwine about gamification and education, or more specifically books.  I said:

I think gamifying books would work as a transmedia experience. You could have books related to a game, and by reading the book you would know how to do some things from having seen characters in the book do those things – yes they could learn from experimenting without the book (and there should be some things that can only be learned within the game) but that the reading augments the doing.  It might be cool also if you could have the kids write stories about doing things that from the game as a way to share new teachings with their class.    This wouldn’t be literature analysis, but it could work for a lower level of introduction into reading and using what one reads (and writing in a similar style).
Also there are some games, such as Cotillion by Little Text People, that are text based, AI story builders where your actions influence the dialogue, and the responses of others are influenced by the social rules of whatever era.  In Cotillion it is the Regency era.  Perhaps tying something like that in with reading, say, Pride and Prejudice (in this example), or some such might be an interesting way to augment the reading.  (I actually haven’t been able to find the right Cotillion game yet to play it, but it was discussed in an AI panel at GDC.)
Just some off the cuff ideas on Gamifying Reading.

Needless to say this led to me point out the Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) as an example of (my understanding of) a Transmedia experience, (a theme/world/story that occurs across multiple mediums (such as a game, and a book and a movie for example.). In watching them I felt compelled to go back and re-read Pride and Prejudice, which, quite frankly, I had forgotten.  (When cleaning out some old memorabilia I found an old paper I wrote comparing the presentation of conflict between Pride and Prejudice and another Jane Austin book, so obviously I had read it, in depth, but it didn’t stay memorable.)

Anyway if you haven’t watched the series I highly recommend them, and you should watch from the beginning, and they have a playlist for that.   However what prompted me to write more is yesterday, while waiting for what folks are calling “#DarcyDay” I was looking at overall LBD experience and was struck at how brilliantly they have put it all together.

Yes, there is the main video series.  And still within the media form of “video” they brought in ”vlogs’ such as Lydia Bennet’s videos and Charlotte’s sister’s videos.  But more than that they built the personae of the characters through other channels. All of the younger charters have twitter accounts (and facebook accounts), and it is fun watching the side conversations that happen around the videos. Even more impressive than twitter accounts with tweets, as I looked at the list, each character follows others – not just the other characters, but also real twitter accounts that these characters as they are played would follow if they were real people.    Beyond that there are Tumbler accounts for most of the characters, and Jane has both a Pintrest board and a Lookbook page, and Gigi has started a thisismyjam page (jam?).

Anyway, as a current rendition the team putting together the Lizzie Bennet Diaries has done a brilliant job of putting together a whole, well thought out experience.  I’m looking forward to the rest of the series and watching where they take the characters and how they continue to adapt the story to the modern day.  This is not your great grandmother’s Pride and Prejudice, but it is a well done modern adaptation that may encourage you to the read the book.

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