The term storyworld represents something that we encounter on a daily basis, when reading a book or watching a movie. In other words, each narrative medium can contain a storyworld, which in itself can, and usually does, contain a set of characters, storylines, settings, and basically everything else that your usual story contains. When, for instance, a sequel of a movie is released, a storyworld of the former is extended further. However, with the rise of digital media, and especially the Internet, it is now possible to extend such storyworlds to the point where the line between the real and the fictional becomes blurred (that’s if the audience is of course willing to suspend their disbelief). One of the most recent cases in point is the Suits Recruits social game, which we’ll briefly discuss here.
The TV series is set in a fictional NYC law firm, Pearson Hardman. Throughout the show, the audience follows the newest employee Mike and his day-to-day life at the firm, where he is teamed up with the well-known (for his work as well as his arrogance) corporate lawyer, Harvey Specter. The show is quite ordinary (but still decent), and thus contains a somewhat limited storyworld, which rarely goes beyond the firm, and the personal lives of the main characters to some extent. Therefore, the aforementioned social game was created to extend the storyworld further.
Suits Recruits You
The viewers apply for an internship at Pearson Hardman and therefore, after a presumably successful application, are invited for an interview at the firm. Before the interview, they are asked whether they’re interested in a paralegal’s or assistant’s position. During the interview, the applicants communicate with Dona (Harvey’s secretary), which leads them to experience the whole storyworld as something more than just a simple fiction. The two sides (the audience and the characters of the series) communicate over the firm’s (fictional) intranet. During the game, characters constantly make their appearance to interact with the players. It is through this quite simple game that the fans of the series are able to get to know the characters as well as the firm better.
As the game progresses, the players are asked to engage in various law cases and solve problems together with the fictional characters. At the very end of the game, or shall I say at the very end of the internship, two interns will actually receive a bonus of $50,000. Such a game not only extends the storyworld of SUITS, but also blurs the line between the fictional and the real, since the participants (you) are required to work, solve problems, and interact with their superiors (who are well… the result of somebody’s imagination) in a quite realistic fashion. This example not only illustrates how digital storytelling can be utilised to extend a storyworld, and cover it with a layer of realness, but also gives the audience what they so thrive for: participation and engaging stories.