Big Browser was a project that Magelis worked on for a while in early
2000, when the market was in recession: for lack of client work, the
company concentrated its energy on a research project.
From a multimedia point of view, the objective was to explore the place
of comics within the web browser context. Thus the comics panel becomes
a browser window, and the story narrative is developed through communication
between windows. The primary window constitutes a “hidden webcam” located
behind the protagonist's screen, spying on their every act. From there
on, other windows may open to show what they are viewing on the web, and
the spectator may read (and in theory write) their email, etc.
The aspiration underlying Big Browser was the creation of a satirical
game that extrapolates upon the espionage of web surfers by sites, spyware,
etc., and the stocking of user profiles for whatever nefarious purposes.
The player plays an employee of the very secret Big Browser Corp, whose
success in the game is measured by their ability to influence and control
the fictional characters viewed through their little browser windows.
The Magelis team made a sketchy and somewhat incomprehensible prototype.
The return of clients put an end to the experiment.