Can Hypertext Narrative Translate?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Stacey Mason at HTLit asks an interesting question:

And then it occurred to me: Perhaps for the first time, we’re moving into narrative media that are not backwards-compatible. The written word can be spoken, the printed word written, movies can be translated to books, but games and hypertext narrative don’t go backwards.

I disagree but on nuanced questions.

I would submit that

1. The dramatic questions are different: what story would we tell with the latest rendering of Prince of Persia, given the game?

2. What path would we follow creating a script for the film version of Patchwork Girl? Or would we local a generalized core?

I would suggest that compatibility would work fine, if we synthesize PG and reconsider the narrative arc of the game. But these films would not “be” the original, as I disagree with the notion of adaptation by definition. There are no adaptations. There are narrative versions, however.

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