Interactive Fiction

In between ghostwriting for clients, working on my novel, and playing with a few short stories, I’ve been trying to think of a better way to tell stories. Not just to tell them but to suck the reader into them. Lots of ideas have bounced around my head, most of them not very well-formed or promising.

One of the first was audio fiction with full voice-acting, sound effects, and musical score. Not just an audio book, but a story designed for an audio format. But that’s really been done before and it lacks the level of immersion I’m looking for.

Another was story-driven video games with simple graphics but compelling narratives. Even better, video games with the capacity for emergent narrative where the player can discover his own stories as he goes. That’s been done as well with varying degrees of success. But it would be a goal far off in the future since my coding skills are sub-novice and my graphics skills are sub-existent.

Dancing around somewhere in my head was a notion similar to those old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books but brought into digital format. And hopefully with an added layer of complexity and interaction. But I didn’t have a firm concept of what that would look like or how to even begin implementing it.

Then, this week I stumbled across text-based video games. Also know as Interactive Fiction. I knew right away this was what I had been looking for and the more I’ve read, the more I’m convinced of that. I’ve since played through a couple of short interactive fiction (IF) games and I’m hooked, for sure. I’m already starting to grasp to structure of them and I can’t wait to dive in deeper and see what I can create myself.

This medium, while not new by any means, is immensely exciting to me. I think this, and things like it, is going to be the future of storytelling. The potential seems endless and despite the fact that it’s been around for a while, I’m sure there are new things to be done with it. So give me some time to learn one of the languages used in programming these games and the basics down, then be on the look out for my contributions.

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