Interactive Stories

Those of you who are old enough (or old-fashioned enough) to remember Choose Your Own Adventure books, then you probably have an idea of where I'm going with this post. Those of you who have never heard of such a thing, you can take a look at video games for a hint - not just the text-based ones, but the narrative-driven ones, like Neir: Automata or The Witcher or Bioshock.

Now, here's the thing about interactive stories: in order for them to be interactive, your reader (or player) must have a feeling of agency. That is, they must feel that their choice makes a difference. The problem with that is that if their choice really does make a difference, then you're making unique content for every single choice the player/reader makes. Will I go this way or that way? Will I say yes or no? Will I take my brother's hand or kill everyone?

For most, both video games and books alike, the solution is to recycle content from choice A as a response for choice F later on. That means that the story line looks more like a line of beads than actual branches.

But I don't do things the easy way. More the fool I for thinking that this way was inherently "better."

I have now been working on a single interactive story on and off for more than a year, and it's still not done. Because EVERY SINGLE CHOICE means entirely unique content. And while that's easier for me than it is for a AAA video game, it's still extremely time consuming.

The moral of this story is that just because it's easier doesn't mean it's worse. Also, don't decide not to go forward. It usually means your game is about to end, one way or another.

#Writing #Project


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