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A few weeks ago, I attended the 17th Annual THEA Awards Gala, where I presented an award for outstanding achievement to 42 Entertainment for their FLYNN LIVES alternate-reality game from TRON: LEGACY.

After the awards, I sat down with Susan Bonds and Alex Lieu of 42 Entertainment to talk about their process and the potential of this new form of storytelling. You can check out the extensive Q&A over at the THEA blog.

You can also read all nine THEA blog posts about FLYNN LIVES, including recaps from other players and fans.
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  • 02:37:56: I do believe that #TraderJoes' Cheddar & Gruyere Melange might actually be the cheesiest cheese in cheeseland. #midnightsnack #mmmcheese #fb
  • 10:32:41: RT @jordancoleman: Wanna turn kids into tomorrow's engineers? Forget aerospace and energy. Get 'em excited about building theme park rid ...
  • 11:13:13: Guest blogger @eolith writes about his #FlynnLives ARG experience for the @TheaAwards blog http://bit.ly/ebmkd1 @movieviral @gamingviral #in
  • 12:29:23: Today on @JohnBarnesUK's BBC radio show, we chat Starbucks supersizing, super-and-puppy-bowls & snowcat food trucks http://bit.ly/eREMTO #in
  • 15:24:42: Lean-forward demands in a lean-back medium; fascinating results from a week without cable on-demand TV experiment http://bit.ly/eFkB0C #in

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  • 09:25:38: If Apple had a theme park... http://ow.ly/3Od1H (via @screamscape) #in #fb
  • 13:29:56: Any of my nerds out there have a Mini DV (tape) camcorder or deck they're not using? I haz many old tapes in need of conversion #in #fb
  • 15:50:33: Operatives around the globe: mynext entry about the award-winning #FlynnLives ARG written for the @TheaAwards blog http://bit.ly/eROV5q #in
  • 16:07:57: If this is true, then @MyTrainerBob is a jerk. http://tinyurl.com/45unajd #twitterjerks #socialmediarudeness (via @cpj1) #in
  • 20:14:16: I just had a real-sugar grape soda for the first time in forever. I CAN SEE THROUGH TIME. #fb
  • 21:08:46: Any tweeps using EA SPORTS ACTIVE 2 on PS3? I've created a workout group called TheGrid, DM me for password to join! http://bit.ly/kV9r8 #in

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And the fans go bonkers... my next entry about the award-winning Flynn Lives ARG written for the THEA awards blog.
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  • 08:36:14: Trying out a new auto mechanic. Stellar @yelp reviews across the board, and literally a block from our house. #fb
  • 14:21:24: Programs! Join me for a final trip to The Grid in @IMAX 3D at AMC @CityWalkLA Thu 1/27 10pm; we're in seats G9-G12 #TRON #FlynnLives #in #fb
  • 14:51:45: LULZ It's "The Groove Grid", aka the "Lost TRON Theme Song" #theresapartygoingTRONtonight #flynnlives #in #fb
  • 16:59:42: My first in a series of articles this week about the award-winning #FlynnLives ARG written for the @TheaAwards blog http://bit.ly/e0dxNx #in
  • 17:49:21: Dave Rocks out to his inner Pussycat @Cinefamily! http://bit.ly/f2ArLT (via @snapyourself) #in
  • 18:01:54: Saving the world thru dark rides #6WordMemoir #in #fb

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The FLYNN LIVES alternate reality game received an award from the Themed Entertainment Association, for their 17th Annual THEA Awards (sort of the "theme park oscars").

The THEAs honor outstanding achievements in the creation of compelling experiences for theme parks, museums, events, and other themed entertainment endeavors. As the industry association for all the magic makers behind the world’s favorite places, activities, and happenings, the TEA uses the THEAS to honor some of the industry's leading achievements.

It's quite prestigious, and really shows how ARGs transcend their online origins to become real-world phenomenon and a source of real, tangible, and most importantly *social*, entertainment for players.

Being a rabid player of the ARG, I helped nominate the game for its award (but didn't vote on its final win). In addition, I will be contributing to the THEA blog, and writing the program notes for the final award show held in Los Angeles this March.

My first in a series of posts went up today; click on the THEA award to read it. Enjoy!
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Since I'm a self-admitted TRON fanboy, many friends have told me they're nervous about my "radio silence" since seeing TRON: LEGACY at last Saturday's premiere; they're assuming since I'm not bouncing with glee, nerd-spooging all over my various social networks that I OMGAMAZEBALLSLOVEDIT, that I must actually not have liked it.

Rest assured, I did indeed love the movie -- I'm just respecting the fact that it hasn't opened yet, and I'm trying not to add to the already-gargantuan-levels of hype that Disney has thrown upon the world for the past two-plus years. Truth be told, I'm a little worn-out myself, hence the lack of glee-bouncing.

Here's the thing. Even with all my anticipation, all I really wanted was two hours of digital eyeball-porn, a cool disc battle, an awesome lightcycle race, and some musings on digital philosophy from Obi Wan Lebowski. And thankfully, I got all of those, polished to a digital sheen. It's a meticulously crafted movie which exceeded my expectations in many key ways. Personally, it was 96 minutes of cinematic happy place.

So my bottom-line recommendation is: I totally enjoyed myself, and I'd recommend it to anyone -- even if you know nothing about the original TRON. It's an incredibly innovative, exciting, and spectacular time at the movies.

But take that with a grain of salt, given my fanboy leanings -- the movie is far from perfect, but there's no way I'd give it an overwhelmingly negative review. You may see the film yourself and think I'm full of shit. Buyer beware, your mileage may vary.

Accordingly, if you want to venture further than my simple recommendation, I have compiled some more detailed thoughts...

SPOILERS & LONG-WINDEDNESS HIDDEN BEHIND THIS LINK -- CLICK HERE IF YOU WANT TO READ MORE. )

I said to all of my friends months ago that I wouldn't be like those Star Wars "Prequel Apologists". Personally, the worst thing I could say about those films is that I didn't find anything to overly hate *or* like, really -- they were just an excuse for me to close the book on my personal relationship with Star Wars. Which is a shame, really.

That didn't happen for me with TRON: LEGACY. While it's not perfect, and may not appeal to everyone, what I got from the film was a visually innovative, jaw-droppingly cool, ear-melting adventure. It's exquisitely well-crafted, and left me wanting more, in the best possible way.
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Tonight, instead of our planned smattering of Christmas parties, we got one big early-and-unexpected Christmas present, tied up in a big, blue neon bow -- after over two years of build-up, Jason and I finally got to see TRON: LEGACY.

That our viewing occurred at the film's world premiere was a complete and total fluke -- a friend-of-a-friend messaged me on Twitter this morning and let me know there were a few extra tickets as part of a fan contest that was going on. I of course jumped at the chance.

Upon arrival, we were given wristbands, some blue glow sticks, and a neck chain with a small USB flash drive in it (they were part of some sort of Nokia-sponsored contest, and we were told we'd find out if we won when we got home and plugged it into our computer -- we didn't win).

We were then ushered into a special corral just adjacent to the blue (not red) carpet as the celebs arrived -- Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges and director Joseph Kosinski all walked within a few feet of me and about a hundred other contest-winning fans (there were hundreds more fans lining the sidewalk behind us across the street, but our perk was being right next to the arrival area with direct access to the blue carpet. Sweet!).

So, while we certainly weren't part of the premiere's elite guest list, we were certainly part of a very enthusiastic group of fans. Jeff Bridges was the most up-close-and-personal with us, shaking hands with everyone on his way down the blue carpet (I got a high-five!). Olivia Wilde was gorgeous, Garrett Hedlund was aw-shucks, and Daft Punk arrived wearing their helmets and tuxes. It was all mildly surreal, and pretty much over about as quickly as it started.

After the celebrity arrival brouhaha, we were escorted into the theater -- alas, we didn't actually see it with the celebs in the El Capitan, but rather were taken to a second "overflow" screening next door at one of the theaters inside the Mann Chinese multiplex. Still, it was an incredible treat to be able to see the film early, and with the perk of such a cool celebrity-arrival preshow.

It was a great night, capping off two-plus years of anticipation in a way I couldn't have dreamed. I will save any detailed comments about the film until after it opens -- I have a feeling I'm going to need a second viewing to really formulate my thoughts, and I already have tickets for the midnight showing in IMAX 3D on opening night.

However, I will say this -- it was 96 minutes of cinematic-happy-place. :)

(Click on me to see additional photos; I've also posted a video on YouTube.)

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  • 14:01:46: Uhhhh. Thanks to incredible chance, @TheFidget & I may have scored tix to TRON: LEGACY red-carpet premiere tonight. I'm gobsmacked. #in #fb
  • 14:34:10: Not if you're a reindeer. RT @GeekTyrant I'm in a debate with someone... Is the word VIXEN offensive to women?
  • 18:32:21: ZOMG! #fb #flynnlives http://flic.kr/p/91chGC
  • 20:11:11: Not walking the blue carpet, but we're in a corral with awesome contest-winning TRON: LEGACY fans, seeing all the stars up close. Rad! #fb
  • 20:14:35: HOLY CRAPBALLS Jeff Bridges just high-fived me. ZOMG DAFT PUNK JUST WALKED BY. #thedude #nerdboner #flynnlives #tronlegacy #premiere #in #fb
  • 23:31:11: Alas, they put us in a 2nd screening room across the street @ Mann Chinese 6. Just got out, and... IT'S RAD. #tronlegacy #premiere #in #fb

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