Paranorman's iOS tie-in and visually stunning sign of the times

Norman Babcock knows all the ghosts in Blithe Hollow. And none of them gets into more trouble than Bub. It all started when Bub ran in front of an animal rescue van (tragic, and ironic), thus beginning his afterlife as a bisected ghost-dog. Next, he took to playing with bones from the old graveyard. Turns out those were zombie bones, and the zombies want them back! Now Bub's on a mission to collect all the bones he lost, swinging through levels on ghostly orbs to reach his goal!

Movie studios are always looking for new, innovative ways to connect with potential movie-goers in attempt to get them in those empty theater seats. The advent of social media - and its rapid and ubiquitous integration into our functional lives - has opened up new publicity/marketing frontiers that go well beyond selling three-inch action figures at your local burger joint. Developments in Internet streaming, cloud-based distribution, and apps that can be download onto portable tablets or smart phones offer countless innate branding opportunities, and the entertainment industry has begun to harness that power in very exciting and creative ways.

2 BIT BUB is a movie tie-in based on the forthcoming 3D stop-motion movie PARANORMAN (look for our Para movie review on August 3rd) created for Apple's iOS mobile platform (no announcement for Android devices as of this writing). The central figure of the game is Slingshot Bub (Bub), an ectoplasmically conjoined ghost-dog whose life ended when he was split in two when run over by an animal rescue truck (the irony!). In the game, Bub digs up bones from the local graveyard. The catch is the bones belong to long-dead Puritans turned zombies who want their decayed appendages back. To return the bones to their rightful and frightful owners, the pup-of-the-dead must climb spectral orbs and solve phantastic puzzles to achieve his goal. Completing each 3-star level is rewarded with a uniquely creepy movie poster from Norman's personal collection (actually created for and used in the film). Watch the game trailer HERE

I have personally been won over by the marketing campaign for this film, which has been a first-rate endeavor throughout and made fantastic use of the film's visually-stunning and detailed content. Everything from its trailers to the fun yet educational spots that provide in-depth behind-the-scenes glimpses into the craft of the stop-motion animation process are striking. The app was spearheaded by the creative and classy folk at LAIKA (the animation studio that was also responsible for the highly successful Coraline) in partnership with gaming boutique GRL Games under the direction of Graeme Devine (HALO, Quake III Arena, The 7th Guest). So the game experience is no different.

First off, 2 BIT BUB is definitely vast for a gratis app-based movie tie-in: 30 levels of action spread out over 10 locations with 3 stars to acquire in each level - a lot of game play indeed. Gameplay is straight forward yet deceptively engaging. And word is that many more levels will be released on the day the movie hits: August 17th. One of the things I realized was noticeably missing - to my delight - no stinking advertisements. NONE! It's gameplay all the way, baby. LAIKA also plans to use the app to feed new trailers and exclusive content directly to app owners before they hit the Internet and fan blogs. Nice.

2 BIT BUB can be downloaded for FREE directly from iTunes. Definately worth the download.

2 BUT BUB is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later. App size: 313 MB.

Visit the film's official website:

Become friends with ParaNorman at 2 BIT BUB - iOS App

ParaNorman hits theaters August 17th.

Edwin Pagan, LH



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