My girlfriend came visit me and we played ‘Little Big Planet’ on my Playstation 3. Amongst many things uniquely fun about the game is the ability customize just about anything on the characters at any time.
You can also take snapshots of characters during their adventures within the game. Through our game play, we became attached to our little sock-puppets personas. My girlfriend once got upset because she forgot to save her customizations. I also spend time before we started every quest to put on the right look.
On way back home one day, I had the idea of sending one of the in-game snapshots to my girlfriend. Low and behold, the snapshots we took can be saved to a memory card with a touch of a few buttons. We shared and talked about the game during a few exchanges of emails. We also clipped faces of our characters and use them as our IM avatars.
Cross-medium experience is nothing new. Companies have been using multiple media to promote brands since the 70’s. In entertainment, the Matrix franchise creatively and fearlessly threaded their mythology into games, comics, supplementary short movies and took storytelling into a new level (It is examined in details in Henry Jenkin’s Convergence Culture).
Doblin Group, a strategy firm in Chicago (now part of the Monitor Group) advocates experience extension in their Experience Framework as a way for companies to strengthen brand message and build customer loyalty.
With a seemingly trivial feature, Little Big Planet allows us to extend the capital that we build in their world into ours — to keep, share and most importantly, to tell stories about the adventures that we had in a fantasy world made out of felt, lint and paper cut-outs.