Sunday, 15 November 2009

Choose Your Own Adventure

I believe that every boy who grew up in the '80s was obsessed with Choose Your Own Adventure books. If they weren't, I was certainly obsessed enough for all of us.
This site is a brilliant analysis of the way that these books worked, and includes some really quite beautiful diagrams of the paths that the various narrative threads took through the story-space formed by the pages. Obviously, kids have computer games to fill their interactive narrative needs these days, but there are very few games which offer such comprehensively branching stories. Mostly, what seems like a non-linear adventure is really a main linear story with optional side-routes. It's hard to see that changing; content costs money, and if you create 10 different endings for a story, most people are going to only see 10% of that content. Unfortunately (economically at least) we don't live in a universe where people are prepared to pay for potential entertainment, and most games are too long for people to keep on playing until they've seen it all.


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