Interactive Storytelling

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

One of my favorite genres of video games is RPGs, mainly due to the storytelling elements and the choices I get to make while exploring said story. Interactive storytelling is on the rise in other mediums rather than just video games.

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Has anyone ever read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury? It’s about a “fireman,” whose job is not to prevent fires but to burn books. One of the mindless ways of entertainment that is described in the book are these parlor walls, giant televisions that span across entire walls. The main character’s wife in particular really enjoys the programs, particularly some family sitcom-like shows that the viewer “participates” in by reading from a script at designated moments in the show.

I was reminded by that detail of the book when I saw that YouTube debuted a trailer for “A Heist with Markiplier,” an apparent choose-your-own-adventure YouTube series that will start streaming this week. Markiplier has reportedly done other choose-your-own-adventure series on YouTube, and I know Netflix has series as well that use the viewer’s input to help determine the course of the story.

Interactive storytelling is popular in its own right, and one of the reasons why I adore video games, even in games where the plot is fairly linear. To see that method used outside of video games — and the book series’ that made it popular — is interesting, especially with television. A click of a button to make a choice and alter the outcome of the show is something that I believe will become more popular as time goes on. Nowadays, people want the interaction and to be part of their favorite universes.

Still, I find it odd regarding television shows, as there’s not much for the viewer to do other than clicking a few buttons and making a choice here or there. Case in point, Rachel and I did a short review on Minecraft Story Mode last year for Netflix. It… wasn’t that great, but it could have been due to the story aimed probably at younger viewers than ourselves. We found it a bit boring and redundant with the choices, even if we admit that was well-done for the medium.

With that said, I suppose one could say the same for the visual novel genre of video games, a genre which I generally enjoy. It’s also probably why I’ve been enjoying Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a wonder what other kinds of shows that both YouTube and Netflix — and, presumably, other streaming services — will imbue with interactive storytelling in the near future.

What do you think of interactive storytelling in television and movies? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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