Over the last three decades, increasingly zealous fan communities have reinterpreted, remixed, and subverted characters from global franchises such as Star Wars, Marvel, and Harry Potter to bring themselves closer to the fiction. The resulting fan culture and recent advancements in digital-physical technologies provide a new opportunity to connect passionate fans with iconic properties that reform the traditional cultural orthodoxy and create added value experiences for high budget entertainment and cultural properties. This research project was focused on enabling participants to deepen their affinity to such narratives through a framework for immersive play within a participatory liminal space. This framework was embodied as a digitally enabled physical device that engaged users through multisensory interactions, versatile customization, inter-device communications and a foundation for systemic agency.
As a diegetic prototype, it presented opportunities for participants to meaningfully engage, collaborate and participate in tangible real-world play experiences. A brief review of related work, descriptions of the prototypes and design rationale is presented.