"Ok, so something has been bothering me for a while now. At the dawn of the transmedia-crossmedia-newstorytelling era, people were amazed about the possibilities of immersion that transmedia presented the participants with.
A dream began to grow in the darkest corners of internet. A dream of the seamless 360° story. In fact, one of the earliest attempts to define the format that I ever heard spoke of the magic circle - and in all right. Pervasive transmedia cross-platform projects were indeed based on the fact that you could not tell game from reality.
Now, here is where we should have taken a few steps back and sobered up. A game where noone knows they are playing a game must defeat it’s own purpose (unless that purpose is to manipulate people against their will or better judgement - see the pro’s and con’s below).
Now this was in fact being discussed, but only as a moral dilemma, not whether or not it was good design or practice. However, out of those discussions sprang the one thing that has allowed the format to stay alive; the ludic marker.
The ludic marker was a way to inform participants that they were taking part of something fictional. There were three main ways to create a ludic marker;
The popup disclaimer, leaving websites themselves intact and ‘unharmed’ by the not-so-seamless conducts.
The constant marker, putting a symbol, logo or other common denominator on all pages and content, making sure that when participants understood that they were in fact playing a game, they would not have to doubt weather or not new content was a part of the experience or not.
The spectacular setting, where the story was simply so unbelievable that it had to be obvious that it was not real.
Now, ludic markers have always been something that I’ve pushed for. I think they are a great way to give participants some perspective on what they are doing. In fact, I think they should be used much more than they are already..."