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The Stars Have Come Alive
How the Starcruiser immersive experience welcomes you to a new world
As promised, this post is my attempt to analyze, for myself and for other interested parties, how the Starcruiser creates such an exceptional experience, and why it works so very well as it does.
I feel quite confident in the base assertion that it does, and has, because I’ve seen it in action on people who aren’t as deeply invested in the IP as I am. I’ve watched videos of influencers who are only surface-level conversant with Star Wars be moved to tears by Yoda’s holocron. I’ve seen parents who thought they were only their for their kids get wrapped up in the experience. I’ve seen people who arrived in civilian clothes buy garments on the ship or in Batuu so they could feel more a part of things.
And I’ve seen people who were already Star Wars fans go absolutely feral. In a good way! But the response that this experience has from people who fully give themselves over to it is astonishing.
So. It works. The Starcruiser is a phenomenal example of what immersive experiences can be. Now: Let’s unpack how and why.
(Disclaimer: This is long, but I don’t want to cut it into multiple posts or forego having pictures, so if your email cuts it off, please do open it in a browser or the Substack app!)
(Second disclaimer: It may be useful, if you are unfamiliar with the Starcruiser experience, to first read my recaps, beginning here. And if you want raw emotion rather than analysis, please see my immediate post-voyage post Together As One).
Who am I, to analyze this?
A bit about me and my day job, for readers who don’t already know me: I work for Plato Learning, a company that creates mythology-themed summer camps rising 2nd-9th graders. It’s (heavily) inspired by the Percy Jackson novels, and though I hadn’t actually read those before they hired me, I’ve always been a big mythology buff, so it was an easy on-ramp. My first job with the company was as the Quest Director in Richmond, a role responsible for pulling off each week’s big story event — but it’s also a performance role in and of itself, since I was with the kids all week and had to facilitate the movement between “regular camp stuff” and “story stuff”. I moved from that position into the Story Department, first as a Quest writer, then assisting with research and training, and now as a full-time story editor and worldbuilder.
All of which is to say: I do this kind of work, though on a smaller scale and with a much smaller budget.
So, any time I go to an immersive experience — everything from the haunted houses at Howl-O-Scream to the Bridgerton Experience to something as utterly epic as the Starcruiser — part of my mind is trying to see how the cogs fit together. Part of my mind is trying to figure out how it’s happening and why it works (if it does), trying to see the psychology and biology and sociology underpinning the end product — and hoping I can figure out how to adapt those things for the peculiar constraints I work with.
Because I just love thinking about it! Immersive experiences are such a fascinating mix of the physical, the verbal, the imaginative, the ephemeral, all blended together. Different levels of experience can control for different kinds of variables, but for me, the interpersonal touch is always what will make the biggest difference, moreso than the set dressings or technology (though those are, admittedly, a huge help in priming your audience, as I’ll discuss below).
That focus on the human connection likely derives, at least in part, from my Shakespeare training. Working at the Blackfriars Playhouse, I saw for years how much it’s possible to convince an audience to believe in, even when you have a bare wooden stage. If an actor says “Well, this is the forest of Arden” with enough conviction, you’ll believe it. You’ll think you hear birds and smell leaves.
Part of what creates that magic in the Blackfriars is the shared space between actor and audience. The universal lighting removes the barriers that a proscenium stage constructs, and I very much believe that assists in transporting the audience into the world of the play — and it creates opportunity for magnificent connection between performer and observer.
Immersive experiences, of course, erase that boundary between actor and audience entirely, because the audience member is no longer an observer, but a participant, a critical part in the story-making.
It all makes me think of Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy-stories” and what he calls Secondary Belief. Great stories do not, truly, suspend disbelief; they create inside the audience a secondary world, that they can believe in just as strongly as they believe in the real world. (I disagree with Tolkien in his assertion that drama is the enemy of fantasy, as illustrated above.) And I think of Neil Gaiman, writing in the Sandman issue “A Midsummer Night's Dream” that “things need not have happened to be true.”
Powerful words and live theatre have the ability to create that secondary belief, to create true things that never happened. But immersive experiences can have even more power in that regard. It’s not a matter of technology and money and glamour, either; ask any tabletop gamer who’s had an exquisitely moving experience, their hearts in their throats, with nothing more than pencil, paper, and dice in front of them.
The key to it is the interaction, the involvement — not merely a reader or an observer of story, but a participant. When you have fully involved yourself in an immersive story, those things happened. It is emotionally real to you.
Okay. Enough of me and story-making philosophy. Why do I think the Starcruiser is so very good at what it does?
Everything about the Starcruiser experience is designed, immaculately, to manipulate you. I don’t use that word in a negative way; it’s genius, what’s happening. Your emotions are being engineered with exquisite precision from the moment you embark.
The whole entry procedure is a brilliant design. How you enter a world is a huge part of any immersive experience — the reception desk and Manderley Bar at Sleep No More, the Instagram-bait wisteria walk at the Bridgerton experience, even the paths that take you into a haunted house — it’s all meant to transition you, mentally and emotionally as well as physically, into another realm. On the Starcruiser, after checking in, you move through very tight, close, deep-gray concrete hallways into the “shuttle” elevator, which is still small, but has more lights and color and different textures. No longer concrete; now you’re getting the gloss and sheen introduced, as well as the first bit of what you’ll come to recognize as the Halcyon color palette.
And then, you move from those enclosed spaces into the absolute glory of the Atrium, so bright and enormous. Coming in in small groups, apart from being logistically easier for crew to manage, also means your first experience of the Atrium is open rather than crowded. And it’s breathtaking. It is meant to awe you, and you’re primed for it because you were in those tighter, gray, deliberately-less-dazzling spaces first. It’s almost sensory deprivation, stripping away the mundane world before inundating you with the imaginative one.
This gets paralleled in the trip to Batuu. Great care is taken to make that move seamless, so you never need leave the imaginative realm you’ve entered and been living in for almost a full day at that point. (This is why I find it ridiculous that anyone would leave Batuu and go, like, ride Runaway Railway during their Batuu day; don’t break the illusion for yourself!) The transport bay in the Halcyon has fun travel posters (which I would love copies of to hang on my walls) for the ship’s ports of call, and it’s another fairly tight space. You’re moving back out of the expansiveness of the Halcyon into a shuttle. This one isn’t an elevator -- it’s, well, it’s a tram. But it is flush against the transport bay, as with a jetway at an airport, so you never see the mundane world — it’s not like waiting for a bus outside a regular Disney resort.
The shuttle has a very different vibe than the transport elevators, and you’re in it for longer — 5-7 minutes. It bumps along amiably, and it puts you out in Docking Bay 9 — another seamless transition. Here, too, you walk through tighter corridors first, though they have more character than the concrete entryways to the Halcyon — the stony walls aren’t uniform, there are planets, the color palette is warmer. You’re being psychologically prepared for what Black Spire Outpost is going to look and feel like, and how it’s different from where you’ve just been. Those tight walls likewise open up into a much larger space — one of the largest open areas in BSO, I believe, following probably the Resistance Base (though that’s broken up by trees and comms towers and such) and Docking Bay 5, where the Falcon is. The massive scale of the TIE Echelon assists with this transition as well.
And this use of the space to prime your responses happens all over the ship. Each room has its own vibes, though all united with the overall look of the Halcyon. Lighting changes at different times of day are subtle, but serve to guide energy. The open air of the climate simulator is a place of truth; the cargo bay’s close quarters create a space for the clandestine.
The psychological programming happens not just in space but in time, too. The way the schedule moves the participants is a finely-tuned instrument in so many ways. Your opportunities for free time are balanced with scheduled events; large scenes are balanced with smaller, more intimate scenes. You begin with more room in your schedule, and then by the end of Day Two (as you saw in my recaps), you’re moving at a hectic pace.
What really impressed me, though, was the scaffolding of the interactive experiences over the course of the two days. Bridge training was a particularly good example of this. In the first stage, in your training, you’re learning with training wheels on. It’s all a simulation. You’re not actually going to damage anything if you’re bad at it. But then, in the second stage (and the second half of the training session), it becomes real! The stakes go from low to medium — you’re still not engaging an enemy, really, but there’s a challenge and a sense of danger. But then, whatever your Bridge event is on Day 2, the stakes are then very much heightened! We’re not dealing with asteroids anymore; now there are TIE fighters, and there aren’t enough of us to deal with it, but we have to, and then we do, and it feels glorious. We’ve been prepared for this moment by what we did before, and that makes the payoff so, so sweet.
The overall movement of plot, too, helps with this management of time. Your datapad messages on Day 1 set up and fold into your Batuu missions -- which then unfold during Day 2 on the ship, often where you’ll start to see actual objects that you only saw virtually while on Batuu. It all fits together in a way that assists with creating that sense of secondary reality. Actions have tangible outcomes.
Then there’s the aural atmosphere: Okay, yes, from a worldbuilding perspective, it might seem odd and not fully in-universe that symphonic background music starts playing at key moments, but it also damn well works. Hearing the strains of the Force theme fading in while Yoda is talking to you? It plucks every heartstring there is to pluck. Hearing the triumphant music during the final fireworks? Yup, that just underlines the sense of success and victory.
Gaya’s music fits into a different kind of aural atmosphere: her songs have hidden meanings, related to the Hayananeya and the coaxium missions — but they also serve a role in the plot. You don’t just hear them at dinner; they come back.
And then there are the subtle background noises. Each room has its own sound (and scent, actually). The hum of engines is with you almost everywhere. The Engineering room has steam hisses and other mechanical noises. The climate simulator is almost silent but for the fans overhead. The ship’s announcements have their own intonation. All of it wraps you up and makes the sensory experience more complete. And, as I mentioned, that’s not just flavor — it also gets used for story. That moment when the noises you’ve become so used to that they’ve almost disappeared… actually disappear. It makes it shocking. It was truly such an immensely effective moment of escalating stakes. My heart plummeted into my stomach. That is the effect of deft use of psychological programming.
Agency and the Bespoke Experience
The manipulation of time also plays into a different aspect of what takes this particular immersive experience so far beyond others of its type, and that’s the ability that the Starcruiser has to give every participant a bespoke experience.
This is, truly, a pretty astonishing thing to do, considering how finely-tuned the whole thing is! There’s such a trick in creating room for spontaneity and surprises within the boxes of What Has To Happen, and to creating the illusion of control in participants. The interplay between the datapad communications and what happens “on the ground”, as it were, drives a lot of that. The branching paths are genius, and if you really commit to them, so many wonderful things unfold. (Again, this is the sort of behind-the-scenes document I would just die to see. I want the map of the experience. I want to know how those branches are engineered.)
A lot of it happens, I think, through the time management — and crowd management. Structurally, I think they do a great job balancing large group scenes with the more intimate 12-15 person scenes and with the opportunities (not guaranteed, but so much more meaningful because they aren’t) for one-on-one conversations, like I had with Saja Tycer.
What individualizes the experience are those smaller scenes. Those are the things that both further and reward commitment to the branching paths. That’s especially true for the personal invites to the meetings that don’t even show up on your schedule — Captain Keevan’s meeting on Day 1, the “Gaya fan club” on Day 2. They derive from your tasks — from the places where the story asks you to take agency, to make a choice that will have an effect on what else you do. It may open a path up, or it may shut it down. And they feel special, making you feel that you’re “in on something” — which, of course, you are! It’s another deft bit of staging that enhances your investment and engagement with the unfolding plot.
Then, as I mentioned, the experience gets further individualized within those group tasks. What role you play in the heist (or sabotage, or counter-sabotage, depending on your path) is something only a few people are going to be with you on, and parts of it may be just you! You have to act, or things might go wrong — and I’ve heard of a few moments when a participant did something truly unexpected, like wandering away with the Hayananeya stone, and the performers had to somehow get it back on track! (I think anyone who’s worked in an interactive environment has had at least one heart-stopping moment where an audience member’s unanticipated choice Had To Be Dealt With in one way or another. It’s another skill you learn and a possibility you have to get comfortable with!).
The point is that every choice you make is supported by the overall system to further your personal story. That agency is what takes an immersive experience into the realm where things become emotionally and psychologically real. At my job, we often say that we want every kid to go home talking about something amazing they did, not something amazing they watched happen. Even the biggest scenes on the Starcruiser have some element of that, as you’re cheering or doing call-and-response, but the more intimate scenes, or individualized moments inside larger scenes, are what make the true impact. Those are the things you go home talking about.
I also got the sense that some tasks and sub-paths were specifically designed for varying ages or engagement levels. I might be wrong about this, but it felt like there were definitely some broad-strokes tasks that were designed to appeal to kids and to be both easy and a delight for them to carry out. Hiding Chewie all over the ship, for instance. That’s a very simple directive. Anyone can understand it — whether kids or the adults less-familiar/comfortable-with role-play. There’s not a steep on-ramp to taking part in that activity.
Similarly, Noah mentioned feeling like the Engineering meeting he ended up in was also geared to appeal to kids, because it was so physical, interacting with all the components of the Engineering room. And let me tell you, kids. love. pushing. buttons. The tactile nature of those tasks is going to be an immediate draw. It heightens that sense of “I am actively doing something,” but without presenting too great a challenge. (This is why children’s museums are, on the whole, more hands-on than museums intended for adults -- though that’s changing, as more and more museum educators realize how powerful interactive experiences are).
Other tasks felt like they had a slightly higher on-ramp. The Hayananeya heist, for example, was complex. It had a lot of moving parts happening all at once, and it was, in large part, a social task! (You’d be rolling Intellect and Presence, in FFG ttrpg terms, rather than Agility or Brawn. Cunning and Willpower could be used with either, I expect.) Coming up with distraction techniques, talking our way into or out of trouble, running interference — those are all things that ask a bit more of the participant than shuffling Chewie around or pushing buttons in Engineering. It’s obviously not that a younger participant, or someone with less role-playing experience, can’t take part or enjoy it, but it did just sort of feel like there was a slightly different target audience for different sub-paths — and that struck me as very clever and well-considered. Again, it furthers the individualization and thus the participant’s emotional investment.
Now, the performers are, of course, not going to truly let you fail, in either kind of task. The Captain isn’t going to intervene in the mayhem in the Atrium before she’s supposed to. Lenka’s not going to walk onto the Bridge before she’s supposed to. Nothing you do in the Engineering room will actually cause the ship to explode. But you feel like that could happen, and that’s the important thing for crafting the bespoke experience!
So, so, so much of this experience depends on the skill of the performers. I’ve said it before, but interactive performing and performing on a stage are very different skillsets. A person can be good at both! But being good at one is definitely no guarantee of being good at the other. I, for example, think I’m a pretty good interactive performer, but I’m aggressively mediocre on the stage — and I have definitely seen people who were excellent on stage utterly choke when trying to conduct an improvised conversation in-character.
The Starcruiser performers are world-class. They are keeping so many things spinning all at the same time, never missing a beat. They have to hold character for an incredibly long time in a very hectic atmosphere — but beyond that, they have to use their skills to create intimacy, very quickly, with very many people, in the middle of that hectic atmosphere.
One large contributing factor is eye contact. I’m gonna get real nerdy here for a few paragraphs: Eye contact does powerful work in creating a bond, and the truly wonderful thing is, it doesn’t just draw in the performer and the participant that they’re directly focusing on. When we see other people having intense eye contact, we are also drawn in. Our brains recognize that something interesting is happening there, and maybe we want to know about it.
This is one of the reasons the Blackfriars Playhouse works so well, and there’s a lot of neurology behind it. A friend of mine, Lia Razak, actually did her Master’s thesis on this topic, and I had the joy of being one of her readers. It taught me so much about the science behind something I felt instinctively to be true. As it turns out, eyes are critical to many of the social cues humans have evolved.
Timing is also a key part of this — knowing how long to make eye contact. The sweet spot, according to Lia’s research, is between four and seven seconds. Less time, and your medial prefrontal cortex doesn’t get engaged in the right ways; more time, and it starts to feel awkward. That medial prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for deciphering context, decision-making, and emotional regulation, among other things — all components of social interactions, and all things that the Starcruiser is, in so many delightful ways, deliberately manipulating. It is, essentially, the core of social cognition in the brain, essential to successful immersive experiences — and eye contact is an extremely effective way to activate it.
For the participants, most of that is reactionary; we’re not aware that our mPFC is being activated, but we behave based on what it’s sorting out. The performers, though, have to make more conscious decisions about who to activate, when, and in what ways. I’m going to quote Lia here, again speaking about Blackfriars actors: “Using their social brains, the actors must recognize and decode opportunities for eye contact, understand and predict the possible outcomes, and behave according both to their predictions and to the actual outcome (which may, of course, be different from the prediction).”
Of course, neither the Blackfriars nor Starcruiser performers are (probably) thinking of this in terms of activation the medial prefrontal cortex. But they’re thinking about what will work on each audience member or participant, how to get to them, how to elicit a response. And they have to do it quickly and many, many times, and in a way that feels genuine and makes each participant feel unique and valued. It’s a lot!
The performers also have to balance people of different levels of engagement. They want to reach out to the reticent without frightening or overwhelming them, but they also don’t want to let someone running around with Main Character Syndrome pull focus and detract from someone else’s experience. Not all participants have the ability to self-regulate. Knowing when to step in is a huge part of this experience, but so is knowing when to step back — but not everyone has that skill, so sometimes the performers have to have it for them. It’s an extremely delicate line to walk, and it’s a lot of responsibility, managing so many experiences all at once.
One of the coolest things, I think, about an immersive experience that is also interactive in this way (and not all are) is how it promotes social interaction and community.
While many of the tasks on the Starcruiser are things you can complete on your own — usually the things your datapad prompts you to do, on the ship or on Batuu — many, many others can only be completed as part of a community. Bridge training and the Bridge events require many hands. Some things only work if two people in different places do something at the same time. The complexity of the Hayananeya heist required so many people, doing different things but part of the same plan.
In all of my smaller meetings — with the Captain on Day 1, with Raithe and Gaya as we became part of their crew, opening the Holocron — the characters said the same words: “Look around.” They told us to look at each other, to notice who was in the room, sharing this space with us. On one level, that’s part of the story: these are people you can trust with the secrets of this plan. But on another level, it was forcing us to connect with each other. It was giving us something to talk about if we met up in the Atrium or on Batuu or in the Sublight Lounge. It was connecting us, sometimes in deeply moving ways.
All those components of psychological programming that bring us into the world and manipulate our emotions along the way also prime us for social bonding. Shared risk, shared danger, shared victory — even when those things are simulated, they are emotionally real for the participants, and they are states which promote and facilitate connection between otherwise unconnected individuals. So too, problem-solving as a group, or having to step outside your comfort zone in the company of others. (I saw this all the time with leadership programming at the ASC; we threw total strangers together and made them stage scenes. Awkward at first, but over the course of just a few days, I saw them open up to and bond with each other.)
Beautifully, those connections aren’t just limited to the people you actually experience the immersive experience with. The Starcruiser community goes far beyond that. Much of the joy of immersive theatre is in discussing that experience during and afterwards — and when you discuss it with people who have also had the experience, it goes deeper. You know what questions to ask; you can find out about the paths not taken. If you go into the Starcruiser groups on Facebook, you’ll see so much of this, people sharing the choices they made, the scenes they got to experience, and delightedly finding out how much else there was going on.
I can look at the Starcruiser community and know how much power it has to create bonds. People have made friends, started podcasts, organized outside meet-ups. And the swag! So many passengers, especially those who have been more than once, bring their own trinkets, artwork, and 3d-printed tokens to exchange or just plain give out to others. (This reflects another power that immersive experiences have: to spur a flourishing of creativity in the participants).
So… Why did it fail?
This question, I think, is plaguing all of us who love the Starcruiser. Despite doing all those things so very right, despite being an exemplar of what immersive experiences can do and why they are so important, why is the Starcruiser being closed down?
Well, the short answer is capitalism, of course, and I shall try to keep my grumbling about corporate decisions to a minimum — but I will say that this feels very much of a piece with movie and tv studios yanking from platforms anything that isn’t an immediate overwhelming success, or just not ever distributing something in the first place because it’s cheaper not to, even having made the damn thing. The slash and burn mentality of so many modern corporations is harmful to art, as is the utterly unrealistic demand for constant, never-ending exponential growth. I do believe we’re reaching a crisis point for all of that, so here is where I’ll throw a little plug to support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
I expect there are all sorts of operational finances at play that I will not even begin to speculate on. But Disney Parks had to know that going in, yes? They still opened it. So why didn’t it perform in a way that justified its cost? Why didn’t more people realize just how special and transformative this experience could be for them?
From what I can see, the marketing absolutely failed the product, in so many ways.
The marketing failed to showcase this as an experience, not just “Star Wars hotel.” That should’ve been prominent long before any of the designs came out and people started complaining about there being no windows, no pool, and so forth. To market effectively, you have to tell people what a thing is. If you don’t, they’ll be disappointed, even angry, if what you give them doesn’t match what they expected. (Ask any author whose book cover accidentally made people think something was a different genre or tone than it is).
The marketing also made some of the coolest things look really gimmicky and silly. As I said of both the Bridge training and the lightsaber training in my recaps, I did not think those were going to be highlights of the experience for me. I was halfway wondering if I could skip them (before I joined FB groups that made it clear I absolutely should not). They were made to look just like games, not like an essential part of the storyline that each passenger gets to live out.
The biggest marketing flaw, though, in my opinion? Was in the failure to sell the characters as a major draw.
Oh, they dropped some one-paragraph descriptions of them, fairly soon before opening. They promised Rey and Chewbacca, I believe. But they didn’t do nearly enough to communicate to potential guests that they would come to love these characters every bit as much as they love the characters from the movies — and that they’d have a much deeper and more meaningful experience with them. This isn’t just a quick meet-and-greet in the parks; this is becoming a part of canon yourself because you are interacting with other canon characters, whose individual journeys are compelling and multifaceted, and who will look into your eyes and see you, too.
Big, big miss there.
I can think of some other financial problems: I don’t think Disney gave the Starcruiser enough time to succeed (another problem running concurrent with many tv shows today, canceled before they can find their audience). Opening this experience in March 2022 was… a choice. Yes, the parks had been open again for a while, and yes, many people wanted to consider the pandemic “over”, but in the spring of March 2022, large gatherings like sci-fi and fantasy conventions were only just starting back up. Not everyone was ready for being in crowd again yet.
Then, I think many people who wanted to go to the Starcruiser just plain didn’t have enough time to save up for it. I’m a lunatic who started saving as soon as I heard the project was announced — not when the price was announced, when the project was — but I am, demonstrably, not normal. If someone only started saving when the thing actually opened, 18 months might not have been long enough. I know so many people who were intending to go in 2024 or 2025. I was — Noah and I originally planned for February 2024 and were just waiting for bookings to open.
And that’s another flaw -- only allowing bookings six months in advance. I am not someone who cruises (being terrified of open water), but as I understand it, you can book cruises much, much farther in advance than that.
So, I suspect those were all contributing factors.
But mostly, I choose to blame the marketing.
How could they fix that?
A lot of my work is marketing-adjacent, and I’m not going to pretend I know more than I do when it comes to the broad spectrum of possibilities. It feels like Disney missed a lot of opportunities to spotlight the fanatics that did come out of the Starcruiser absolutely loving it — the people who started podcasts and such. They relied on traditional influencers, many of whom were, well, lukewarm at best on the experience and obsessed with its price.
The number one thing I would fix, though? Is what I said about not selling potential guests on the characters.
The same way that a movie needs a trailer, this experience needed a preview that did more than just show the space. It needed something that promised the story.
There are a lot of Halcyon tie-ins in broader Star Wars media, but not in things that are easily shareable or easily consumable for a wide audience. Not everyone who’s a Star Wars fan reads all the books and comics (though The Princess and the Scoundrel and the Halcyon Legacy comics are both excellent).
They needed videos.
Animated, I think, so as not to promise the look of any one performer (especially since, at the time they’d have needed to start producing these, they may not have hired them yet). And so much is already happening in Star Wars animation, between the Lego shorts, the Tales of the Jedi, Visions… It seems like that would be a natural fit. Put them on Disney+, but also put them on YouTube so they’re easily shareable.
A series of vignettes, showcasing each character just prior to this voyage. Nothing that would give away spoilers -- but things that would provide hints. We’d see Captain Keevan, returning to her first ship, but aware that the galaxy is a different place now. We’d see Lenka Mok and SK-620 doing something, obviously for the Resistance (since that becomes apparent almost immediately, at Muster, anyway), but we wouldn’t know what they were doing. We’d see Raithe and Gaya learning that something they need is on that ship -- but we wouldn’t find out what or how they planned to get it. We’d see Lieutenant Croy, desperate to prove his worth to his superiors -- mirrored with Sammie, desperate to prove that he can make a difference in the galaxy. We’d see the Sajas and their nomadic lifestyle, deciding that the Halcyon is a place where they could both share and receive knowledge.
That, I think, is the most powerful change that could’ve been made in how the Starcruiser experience was promoted to the public. Show the stories. Show the characters that passengers come to love. Hint at the plots that you’ll get swept up in.
Wrapping it up
I confess, I don’t really know how to end this post. In a professional aspect, I’m going to be trying to take so many of the lessons presented to me by the Starcruiser and adapt them for the work that I do (insomuch as I can, considering I work with vastly different affordances and constraints). But that feels a cold ending to leave you, Dear Reader.
I suppose I’ll finish by going back to what I said at the beginning: I love immersive experiences because they call on so many different pieces of you. Mind, body, heart, soul — when done well, the experience plucks on each of these to create a beautiful symphony of experience. And the Starcruiser does it very, very well.
And I believe that is valuable and important. These experiences reach something inside of us that the vagaries of the modern world often make inaccessible or distract us from. They let us play, they let us feel, they let us learn about ourselves. They give us a safe space to explore powerful emotions; they call upon themes and narratives that are critically important to our sociopolitical landscape; they open us up to further imagination.
Things need not have happened to be true. And what happens in an immersive environment has the capacity to be gloriously, transformatively, brilliantly true.
We need that.
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