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Session Name:

Location-Based Interactive Storytelling the Walt Disney Imagineering Way


Storytelling is the heartbeat of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts experiences. Since the earliest days of Disneyland, innovative technology and new media platforms have served to enrich and expand the shared experiences of Disney guests, adding both new aspects of interactivity and immersion. With the growth of new technology platforms, the integration between the electronic and physical worlds has never been closer, or more entertaining. We will discuss how the Disney Imagineers create theme parks, and how they use story to inform every creative decision in order to make guests feel like the protagonist in our vivid fantasy worlds. This lecture focuses on how the lessons of theme park design can inform game design in the virtual world. Just as in video games, Imagineers deal with issues of artistic design, architectural storytelling, interactive narrative, massively multiplayer gameplay, adapting classic characters to the interactive world and community building. To illustrate these concepts, we will use these pioneering interactive attractions as examples: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure - A theme park adventure game in which guests use mobile devices to solve mysteries and trigger secret-agent-style physical installations at Epcot; Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom - A trading-card based role-playing game where players unlock mystic portals hidden all around the Magic Kingdom Park to reveal Disney villains, and once revealed, the players use their "spell cards" to defeat the villains in a magical duel; A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas - A location-based Pirate game where guests interact directly with the theme park environment; The Menehune Adventure Trail at the Aulani - A Disney Resort and Spa, in which guests use magic to bring the stories of Hawaii to life.

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  • GDC Next 2013
  • Jonathan Ackley
  • Walt Disney Imagineering R&D
  • Chris Purvis
  • Walt Disney Imagineering R&D
  • free content
  • Future of Gaming
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