Brainstorm: Designing Custom Android ROMs as Transmedia Game Consoles

5:22:00 PM

As a newbie it took a little research on forums and youtube in order to learn how to root and instal a custom ROM to my Android phone, but the process resolved a lingering question I had had over the bevy of apps that I would have to ask an audience to install in order to experience a Transmedia Narrative I have been developing, The Coop.

A Green Lantern-themed custom Android ROM
inspires a vision of turning mobile devices into
Transmedia game consoles.
In coming across a superhero ROM it occurred to me that designing an Android ROM preloaded with apps and whose theme was consistent with the narrative would forego both the having an audience member search the marketplace for the app, download the media and suffer the learning curve.

As it's being written, The Coop's media artifacts would be deployed in both real and virtual space. Traversing and experiencing the story's media would take place on one's mobile device. That is, a smartphone would be the game console for the Transmedia Narrative.

One media experience that's being developed, however, is an Augmented Reality dungeon which contains inside of it booth music and ebook downloads. It will include links to other Web portals. The dungeon itself would load into an AR Browser such as Layar via the scanning of a QR Code, and to discover the code's location, one would need to use the phone's GPS to navigate to its location.

Finally, interaction with the community of audience members would include the standard fare of social media such as Twitter and Facebook as well as the official game app that tracks achievements, experience and progress in the narrative.

That's a lot of apps to ask someone to install simply to enjoy one media artifact. A rough count here is that the mobile device would utilize at least eight apps to experience the narrative. While all the apps are currently listed as free in the Android Marketplace, there a certain amount of break in the suspension of disbelief while the appropriate app is downloaded to continue through the AR dungeon.

In the process of evaluating the different custom ROMs I might install on my Android phone, thought, it seemed to me that if one could have a "Green Lantern" ROM for one's phone, one could also develop a ROM specifically tailored to the Transmedia Narrative - apps and custom icons pre-loaded into the GUI.

Just a thought.

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