Photo: Natalia Balcerzak

Mobile ghost-hunting at Ryerson

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By Miriam Valdes-Carletti

Ryerson students crawled through campus Halloween night as a new app on their phones led them into haunting corners.

MixItMedia, one of Ryerson’s transmedia zones, created the RUHaunted app and put together a digitally enhanced experience with live theatrical interactions. Kwame Newman-Bremang, interactive media producer and graduate of Ryerson’s masters of digital media program, was a part of the developing team behind the Halloween app.

“We really wanted to do stories that blend with traditional forms as well as new geeky awesome stuff,” said Kwame. ”We decided to do this Haunted Halloween happening.”

To emphasize the gaming aspect of these activities, MixItMedia provided 3D-printed badges shaped as gears that the students could earn once they reached the checkpoints. These gears were a token that would be tallied into an reward at the end of the night.

Nadya Khoja, theatrical co-ordinator of MixItMedia, was also part of the process.

“It’s sort of like a real life video game,” Khoja said. “With this, you’re doing something similar with the interface of the app, however you have to physically walk through the campus to reach certain points.”

For new students who aren’t familiar with the campus, this Halloween event was a fun way to explore Ryerson. Through the app, they were led to different locations that they had yet to see.

For MixItMedia, the project took two years to complete and only recently finished the second iteration of the project.

The discussion of the event first began in September. MixItMedia wanted to captive an audience by making them interact with their space. Their quest-like adventure became a reality when they received sponsored collaboration from Ginger Restaurant, Jackson’s Burgers and Wanda’s Waffles Bakery.

For Connor Immonen, a fourth-year media production student and an actor from the event said that it was a great experience for him to be involved in.

“It was a wonderful opportunity as an upcoming voice actor,” Immonen said. “I’m not one for improvisation, but it was great to scare people.”

Lindsey Alston, a student that attended the event, said she was impressed with the technical aspects of the app.

“The pre-recorded storytelling was high quality and made me really curious about the next step,” Alston said. “It was a good idea especially because the new generation is very focused on their technology devices these days.”

The app is only available on an Android.

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