When posed with the statement: “Take This Lollipop, I Dare You” on a website, of course my initial instinct is to take it! Not only did it dare me to, but I am one of those people with a seriously sweet tooth who could always do with a lollipop! But this interactive digital story is not exactly of the sweet variety, check it out here… if you dare!
“Take This Lollipop” is a personalised digital story which will inevitably creep you out, so it was probably not the best idea to view it at 11:28 at night in my bedroom alone with the doors closed and the lights all turned off… (or conversely maybe this was the perfect setup!) The power of the story lies in the personalisation of the piece, so to get the true experience you have to sign into your Facebook account and grant it access. And this is the way in which the story then proceeds to freak you out! Eerie music building up tension, amazing 3D graphics lead you down a dingy hallway to a room where an excessively creepy man sits at a computer, as the visuals turn to display the computer screen you watch as this creepy man logs into Facebook and accesses your very own Facebook account!! Your exact news feed on display post for post, before he clicks onto your profile and ever so creepily stalks through photo after photo, progressing through them as he begins stroking the screen with his fingers. The epitome of the creepiness when the stalker opens up google maps and types in your location, before proceeding to get into his van, a photo of you taped to his dashboard!
The true strengths of the digital story are not only in the graphics and the way it is interactive without too much involvement, but also the way in which it emotes and sets a mood without the use of dialogue but rather,through the use of colouring, excessively creepy musical score and sound effects, the various angles within the animation and the expressions of the stalker character. The viewer becoming well and truly immersed in the story. The only weakness in the piece, I am finding it increasingly difficult to even think of one, it was that well done, would probably be the ambiguity of the piece, if you have no idea what the story is before you ‘take that lollipop” (like me) you have no clue what you are getting yourself into. However, this could aso be quite intentional on the part of the creators. As far as horror stories go, the plot is not overly twisting or complex at all; but it is the whole seeing yourself cast as the victim that really draws you in.
This video whilst extremely creepy, truly for me just shows how far the world of digital story telling has come and is indicative of all the possibilities for future stories, especially with the increasing progression of technology these days. The way the story becomes personalised for you the viewer, the overall construction and its ability to access your information a truly signifcant development for storytelling online and in general.
Many people in the world having a tendency to underestimate the power of social networks. Short and succinct this viral video also teaches an important lesson about the potential dangers of online networking, sending a warning about being very careful with privacy, making you think twice about what you share on the internet and how you safe guard this information.
One final quick note for the future: don’t take candy from strangers, online or otherwise!