interactive literature: merits & form

interactive literature: merits & form

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I had a lot of trouble playing the interactive games, galatea, bronze, warblers nest, and counterfeit monkey. I quickly got stuck and very frustrated — but because I wasn’t able to play the games in full, I feel like I can’t full comment on their conceptual and creative worthiness.


However, it did spark a line of thinking around whether these games merit the form. Do the facets of the story merit having interactivity, or is this just a text game to “be” a text game? Does the story itself demand the form, or would these stories actually be stronger and more interesting as codex novels?


Does the interactivity in these stories make them resonate in unique way, or even in a way that is stronger than linear codex story telling? My initial leaning is that they do not. For interactive story to truly pack the emotional ammo, we need visual/audio descriptions to engage with as well (thinking of Journey and Gone Home). OR we need to be able to engage with fleshed out codex. These interactive texts just didn’t spark my imagination or grab me the way video games or traditional novels do. They are like the weird middle child who is never sure about his purpose or identity, and so falls flat. (BUT AGAIN, since I couldn’t finish the games I feel kind of bad bashing on them so much).

I also was thinking about the role of these text-based role in telling stories in the present moment. Are they able to offer us something that a visual/audio/controller video game cannot? Or are they simply infantilized versions of modern video games? Even if they are infantilized versions, could they still play a viable role in how we consume stories?

I’m currently leaning towards no — and no because I hate text. I was really rooting for these works to have a powerful role to play, but they just seem like incomplete works. Maybe my attention-span is too greedy, but these stories read like the storyline drafts meant to be fleshed out into larger video game worlds that have visual/audio components.




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