Interactive Peer Workshops

In order to offer feedback on each other’s interactive narratives, you have to, of course, interact with them. I’d like you all to do this with as little input or direction from the original author as possible; I want you to have a “pure” reader experience, where you explore and discover the narrative on your own.

Then, I’d like you to compose a cohesive, narrative response to the interactive text in the same fashion as our initial reader responses to the interactive mobile apps we explored last week in class, using the critical concepts of play and user engagement from the Marie-Laure Ryan and Emily Short articles that grounded our unit.

Specifically, I want you to discuss your experience reading / playing the piece using some of the following questions as springboards for your response:

What kind of interactive narrative are you exploring? How does the narrative constrain player agency (and is that constraint part of the message of the piece)? How does the narrative work on the question of what the player is willing to do or make the protagonist do? How does the narrative use “the mechanics of deep exploration” or deploy a goalless immersive space? How does the narrative incorporate puzzles, or require the player to overcome obstacles? What narrative function do those puzzles serve?

Does your enjoyment of the narrative increase as a result of your interaction, or relationship to your player-character? How does the narrative balance the user’s role of control over the story with a well-formed narrative arc? How deeply into the “onion” are you, as the reader, allowed to penetrate with your input?

At the beginning of class, you will each type your piece’s title and the authors’ names into this Google doc, making the title a hyperlink to the narrative. You then have the option to explore any of the other narratives linked in there. I’d suggest you try for no more than 3-4 of the other narratives, so you can have enough time for a detailed playing experience, and thorough response. Once you’ve explored a narrative, return to the Google doc, and type your response as a new paragraph below the title of the piece to which you are responding.

Make sure to include your names with your contribution. I’d also like you to embed links to the interactive piece you discuss, any other sources you reference, and / or multimedia like images or screenshots that help us understand your response. That is, I’d like your response to be as interactive, hypertextual, and multimedia as possible.

If you like, you may also use your response as your weekly blog post, but all responses should be typed into the Google doc, so we have a sprawling, immersive field of interactive commentary on your interactive narratives. This way, authors can see responses to their own work, but they can also see some of the commentary and critique on other works of interactive narrative, all of which may be useful as you refine and polish your piece for Friday.


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