Text Games in a New Era of Stories

Clever NYT writer cleverly notices a genre that’s been around for almost 40 years, and praises as a “first glimpse” a work by an author and designer and ambassador and critic who’s been producing canonical works many of us have been glimpsing (and studying and teaching) for about 15 years. But beware the sentences of Emily Short. Because prose. And pages and stuff.

imageBlood & Laurels made me feel more like an improviser than a reader, someone who was asked to perform a role in a troupe, responding to the unpredictable decisions of my fellow actors, who in turn had to adjust to my decisions. Remarkably, when I replayed the game, I didn’t feel that Marcus had become a different character when he decided to, say, betray Artus rather than execute his commands. Instead, it seemed that I was just learning how he might behave differently under the vagaries of circumstance.

Exploring those possibilities is one reason Ms. Short became a writer of interactive fiction rather than of more conventional stories. “I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t write multiple versions of the same scene,” she said. —Text Games in a New Era of Stories – NYTimes.com.

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