Interactive Storytelling

I’ve been teaching, researching, creating, writing and commenting about interactive storytelling for the past 10 years. It springs out of a lifelong interest in games of all sorts (especially board games and role-playing games), the rise of video games and other forms of interactive media (and my frequent disappointment in the level of storytelling in these media), and the power of play for learning and creativity.

This page collects concepts, resources and reflections related to my ongoing exploration as a teacher and a writer in the social power of games and other forms of interactive narrative.

Key concepts
  • interactivity
  • agency
  • narrative:
    • stories: embedded, emergent, contextual
  • immersion
    • willing suspension of disbelief
    • 4th wall, metafiction
  • game
    • design: rules, play, culture
  • point of view
    • first-person, second-person, third-person, god game, other?
  • ludonarrative dissonance

“Some such term is needed to mark the change we are experiencing, the invention of a new genre altogether, which is narrative in shape and that includes elements we associate with games.” — Janet Murray, “From Game-Story to Cyber-Drama”

Sub-genres, media & examples

How would you evaluate the interactivity; agency; narrative; and immersion of these examples?

Text Adventure

Interactive Fiction

CYOA Book

Counter Novel

Interactive Memoir

Interactive drama

Serious Game

Newsgame

Walking Simulator

Survival Simulator

Video Game

  • Life is Strange
  • The Walking Dead
  • Journey
  • Red Dead Redemption 2

Interactive Video

Role-Playing Game

LARP (Live Action Role-Playing game)

Visual Novel

Virtual Reality

Escape Room

Geolocative Storytelling