'True Blood,' 'Despicable Me' Usher in New Dawn of Interactive Entertainment
'True Blood,' 'Despicable Me' Usher in New Dawn of Interactive Entertainment
When I was growing up, virtual reality meant giant clunky helmets and crappy, Tron-style graphics. I remember watching cartoons featuring people watching their TVs and touching the screens, manipulating what they were watching and becoming a part of the experience.

The future, as they say, is now. For several years, starting heavily with the premiere of Lost, there has been a dramatic increase in interactive engagement with entertainment. Lost set up multiple websites and had complex online games to deepen fans' love of the show, but now, it's about more than just a website.

This year both film and television are making huge breakthroughs in the complicated world of interactive experiences. True Blood tried something daring to promote its current third season with a special code embedded in an ad during the Lost series finale, and the new animated film Despicable Me features a brand-new type of interactive entertainment for viewers in the movie theaters and at home when the DVD is released.

trueblood-code.jpgThe summer of new media began with True Blood's fairly complex promotion during the Lost series finale. In a commercial for season 3, there was a strange symbol known as a QR Code. Fans that took a photo of with a smartphone and used a QR Code reader got a special surprise: an extra sneak peek at season 3!

Adding in multiple levels requiring fans to play along made them part of the action and helped establish an even stronger fan community for True Blood.

The new animated film Despicable Me is attempting to do the same thing. The film features yellow aliens called Minions with their own language, but Best Buy Movie Mode, a new app from Best Buy, allows you to translate what they say. Fans can download the app and use it to translate the minions during the 3D end credits of Despicable Me.

minion.jpgThe application will also allow fans to translate the Minions in theater and even when the movie comes out on DVD. This new technology takes the interactivity to a new level, allowing fans the chance to experience a film in a completely different way. With the translator, audiences will have the chance to fully experience Despicable Me.

Between technological breakthroughs in both creation (like Avatar) and audience interaction, film and television is quickly becoming a completely different medium.

(Images courtesy of HBO and Illumination Entertainment)