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The Lighthouse Painting Represents The Best Of Transmedia

The idea of telling supplementary stories across two or more mediums is not particularly new nor is it a foreign concept in the world of video games. Since the dawn of marketing people have tried to find ways to dominate mind-share for an IP in as many avenues as possible. It's not hard to be cynical about a sea of paperback tie-ins, phoned-in comics, and empty companion apps all crashing on the shores right around the release date of every AAA release.

The Lighthouse Painting, an episodic radio drama by Swedish sweethearts Simogo, is the antithesis of a cross-media marketing blitz; it's a breath of fresh, salty air for people who want to be left wanting more.

The relation between The Lighthouse Painting and last year's mobile exploration game The Sailor's Dream is difficult to describe. The two share the same ocean and their stories intersect in a low-impact way, but they separate themselves from one another by capitalizing on their respective mediums: radio drama and point-and-click adventure.

The Lighthouse Painting carries Simogo's trademark style: simplicity of design that belies an underlying complexity of concept and a powerful earnestness. It's this overwhelming desire to simply tell a story that makes Simogo's work so endearing. It helps that sound designer and composer Jonathan Eng returns with a compelling soundscape that feels like a natural extension of The Sailor's Dream's world.

It's impossible to not see how perfect the marriage of radifo drama and nautical-themed stories is. Both are decidedly old world yet timeless. The images of a lighthouse, coastal towns, waves lapping at cliffs, are all recognizable if not universal and so are the sounds that accompany them. The Sailor's Dream used a mix of photorealism wrapped in an abstract geography that felt like a slightly disjointed memory to elicit feelings of nostalgia.

The Lighthouse Dream (as a radio drama often does) employs sound in very much the same way by presenting an ambience that the listener can latch on to and then fill in with one's own concept of space and distance. Both present the minimum requirement necessary to gain purchase of whatever story gets discovered in the cracks between the sea spray-slick rocks and neglected floorboards.

A key hook of The Sailor's Dream was the need to return to the game's ocean throughout the passage of a week for reasons I won't spoil here. It didn't so much make the experience episodic, but it worked as a reason to revisit the world much in the same way a serial structure does. Needless to say The Lighthouse Painting mirrors that in it's more traditional episodic structure.

Conceptually these two works feel so intrinsically tied to each other that it's hard to look at the walls of Assassin's Creed Monopoly and pages of Call of Duty Companion Apps without thinking that a supplementary piece can be so much more than a tie-in or marketing tool; it can be an earnest and powerful way to tell a story that may not have been possible in another medium. Hopefully Simogo isn't done telling these kinds of stories after The Lighthouse Painting wraps up on the fourth and final episode.

The Lighthouse Painting can be found for free on iTunes. The Sailor's Dream can be purchased on the App Store. You can learn more about Simogo's other projects like the must-play Device 6 at their website