Interacting beyond branching narratives

* Reactions to readings on interacive narrartive for Interactive Video Workshop

“The common click-to-go-forward paradigm for interaction coupled with static graph structure navigation schemes, seems to place the viewer in an adversarial position within the story. Instead of giving the viewer their experience, such a scheme requires that the viewer constantly push the story forward, a situation roughly analogous to listening to a narcoleptic storyteller.”
Although a bit harsh of an example I think the passage clearly gets at the main challenge of interactive narratives – By forcing the viewer to make conscious decisions in the plot of the story you take them out of the moment and dillute the storytelling by providing to little structure and creating what he describes as a transgressive metalepsis. This moment of metalepsis is when the narrative makes itself self-aware creating a strange or comical feeling, removing you from the story. I feel in certain situations that a metalepsis can perhaps be interesting in the context of a game or when a comical experience is the desired outcome. Overall this does seem to be a valid point, the idea that this implicit interruption by the ‘user’ of an interactive narrative seems to remove them from the situation, rather than immersing them in it. The stop, click, and go model seems to have been fashioned after interactive conventions of web and interactive CD-ROM experiences and may not be the most effective solution for storytelling.
I found the writers five fundamental properties of interactive narrative to be particularly useful: Narrative Intention, Narrative Immersion, Narrative Structure, Narrative Response and Narrative Guidance. The main point I got from these properties was that interactivity in narrative can be more effective when made subtlely and transparently. It does not require the action to freeze with a pop-up menu hitting the screen as a multimedia creater and web designer like myself might be inclined to do. Instead, the interactivity can take place within the structure of a basic story and plot that the author dictates. When creating interactive narrative we must not lose sight of the overall goals of “Why am I viewing this story” and “Why am I telling it”. As the author we must still decide what takes place in this story and let the user inact more ‘silent’ and sublte changes to the story without the main narrative strucutre being compromised. More effectively the user interaction can affect things such as, pacing, probability of an event, sound, visual presentation, or lighting to name a few. A strong story must still have the same principles of any other successful story but with the allowance of users being able to give it their own subtle twists and colors to the narrative.


2 Responses to “Interacting beyond branching narratives”

  1. Ferinannnd Says:

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