California – The Pickle Index is a transmedia storytelling experience set in a dystopian world governed by pickle consumption.
Set in a glum nation ruled by a stylish dictator where all citizens are required by law to participate in The Pickle Index, a fermentation-based recipe exchange, the story follows the tale of a dysfunctional circus troupe on a mission to rescue their ringleader from jail. One book is written from the perspective of troupe member Flora, while another uses news-style reporting to tell the story from the perspective of the government.
To follow the story, readers can alternate chapter by chapter between the books, and by aligning the artwork they can start to piece together the full storyline. ‘It resonates with the narrative, where no one has complete information,’ Horowitz told Wired.
Designed to be used alongside the reading experience, the app unlocks the story over 10 days through a series of maps and mini-games. The app is deliberately difficult to use, encouraging users to look for hidden material buried inside. ‘You’re poking around, endlessly wandering in the midst of boring stuff, and that challenge goes hand in hand with the thrill of discovery,’ said Horowitz.