#1121: Venice Immersive 2022 Competition Recap: 30+ Reviews of Immersive Stories

Venice Immersive 2022 featured 30 immersive stories in competition with some of the fiercest competition yet. I’m joined by Pola Weiß to break down, analyze, & critique each one of the 30 experiences in competition starting with the three winners: Special Jury Prize [3rd place] Eggscape, Grand Jury Prize [2nd place] From the Main Square, and Best Immersive Experience [1st place] The Man Who Couldn’t Leave.

We then make our way through the 27 other experiences organized by which quality of presence it emphasized the most, whether it’s active presence focusing on interactivity & agency, emotional presence focusing on passive storytelling, embodied & environmental presence focusing on cultivating embodied experiences, or focusing on environmental storytelling, or spatial design, and then finally mental & social presence experiences focusing on puzzles, escape rooms, social dynamics, and text-based projects that play with expectations or imagination.

We spend on average around 5 minutes talking about each of the 30 immersive stories in competition (sometimes more and sometimes less), and you can find the timecodes down below to jump around.

I recorded over 20 interviews at Venice Immersive, and so stay tuned for deeper dives into over half of the pieces in competition, but this podcast should give a pretty comprehensive overview of this year’s selection. I don’t envy the jury who had to make some really tough choices for the top three, but hopefully this conversation can help highlight the entirety of the selection with a lot of innovations and refining on the crafts of immersive storytelling.

00:11Introductions 04:22Eggscape 09:04From the Main Square 15:01The Man Who Couldn’t Leave 24:09ACTIVE PRESENCE 25:58Rock Paper Scissors 31:38Fight Back 37:48Peaky Blinders 44:23EMOTIONAL PRESENCE 44:45All That Remains 49:22Reimagined: Vol 1 Nyssa 52:28Sorella’s Story 56:43Red Tail 61:50Kindred 65:56Darkening 72:47Thank You for Sharing Your World 76:46EMBODIED and ENVIRONMENTAL PRESENCE 76:56Rencontre(s) 82:54Eurydice: Descent into Infinity 90:08Dazzle: Reassembly of Bodies 95:46Framerate: Pulse of the Earth 99:54Éternelle Notre-Dame 107:10Uncanny Alley 111:07Namuanki 112:52Stay Alive, My Son 121:22MENTAL and SOCIAL PRESENCE 121:41Ascenders 124:52Mrs Benz 128:43Treasure Heist 131:35Typeman 135:11Gumball Dreams 139:13Mandala 144:35All Unsaved Progress Will Be Lost 146:24Poet’s Room 149:35Okawari 156:18College Bienalle: Elele, Chroma 11, and Mono 159:42Concluding Thoughts

Here’s my Twitter thread with some real-time reactions:

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Music: Fatality