Incorporation facilitaire in a transmedia experience - and the case of Bobbejaanland
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In theme park literature it is stated that guests of a theme park area can engage in the process of absorption into a fictional world. This process has also been subject to research in the field of media and culture studies. Related to video games, Gordon Calleja has named this process incorporation: “The absorption of a virtual environment into consciousness, yielding a sense of habitation, which is supported by the systemically upheld embodiment of the player in a single location.” This research implements theory from media and culture studies to gain insight in the experience of a fictional world in a theme park. It demonstrates how incorporation is facilitated within the storyworld of Khyonesia present in a theme park area in Bobbejaanland. Incorporation is aided through the design of the storyworld which encompasses different media channels; physical as well as digital. Therefore it is perceived as a transmedia experience which according to media scholar Henry Jenkins “unfolds across multiple media platforms, with each new text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole.” With the method of textual analysis supplemented with participant observation this research will show how the design of the transmedia experience facilitates incorporation. The preparatory phase offers clarification on the inner logic of the storyworld and therefore encourages “the absorption of a virtual environment into consciousness.” Additionally, visiting the theme park area allows guests to roam the area without the need of being “represented by the avatar.” Last, the absorbing components of the storyworld may yield “a sense of habitation,” since guests are addressed as storyworld inhabitants and experience the environment from a first-person perspective.