Food and interactive story

Sunday, August 14th, 2005

Today will be made from preparations for fajitas on the grill. Fresh pico de gallo and lots of grilled peppers and other vegetables. I don’t know what will happen and I look forward to the making and the eating. (I’ve learned over the years that if you don’t cook with hardwood then you shouldn’t cook outside at all. But that’s just me.)

Also, I recently finished Chris Crawford’s On Interactive Storytelling. I thought his ideas about this vein of thinking are pretty competent. His discussion of the code workings and mathematics were what I was most interested in. But as I was reading the book, my soft bias against interactive storytelling keep on rising up. I enjoy the code but I don’t buy the systems yet. (I also have a soft bias against things like community storytelling, but that’s another story.)

How do I get by falling back on this idea: we already have a system for interactive storytelling. It’s called life. The other thing that’s been taking time in my head are the references I keep reading to Facade as a “game” and to the associations of interactive storytelling to games. Here’s an example where game as model is woven into an idealistic description of interactive storytelling. It comes from Marie Laure-Ryan:

The user should participate and interact out of interest for the story, not for the sake of solving problems or beating opponents. In contrast to the standard game player, she will prefer a less efficient action over a more practical way to achieve a goal, when this action leads to more interesting narrative possibilities.

Okay. My response is: why even consider the phenomenon in the context of “game” to begin with? Maybe I need schooling on this, but what would “the standard game player” have to do with this in the first place?


4 responses to “Food and interactive story”

  1. susan says:

    It may come from the fact that to date, while so much has been accomplished in game-playing that almost everyone approaching the new concepts and development along the line of something such as Facade bring with them the experience of games. I am glad that I hadn’t in fact come to Facade after just playing around in Silent Hill or Still Life. I’m sure I would have been affected by them and in turn, it would have played a part in my attitude, rather than coming directly from tons of short-story readings. I still, however, must admit that I saw it at some level as a “game,” something to navigate to a desired end, rather than navigating story to simply arrive at one.

  2. Steve says:

    But is the desired end flavorful enough? I, indeed, do see Facade’s success more in terms of story rather than as game. I’d like to see a deeper and stronger aesthetic to the “story.” The most successful story I can think of in a game is Syberia, a work that blurs game, novel, and cinema. I found the whole graceful and quite moving. The work sticks to a tradtional story mode, though, which grounds the user, and is still very much goal oriented.

    Facade makes story happen, but the discontinuities are damaging to the sustained experience. I just don’t think it’s a very interesting, responsive, or subtle story.

  3. susan says:

    It is by no means a story with any real depth or future or maybe it lost it after several sessions. It also, as you note, is affected in story by technological blips. A thought just occurred to me to write up the story of Grace and Trip and see what it looks like on paper…as an experiment and test of its strengths and weaknesses.

  4. Steve says:

    I’d really like to see that.