Narrative and Dynamic, Jan. 29

Updated: Feb 4, 2019



I like the summary of all kinds of different narrative models. The audience may select different choices, but there is the same ending in the end, which is threaded narrative. Well, I think some interactive narrative doesn't have a specific narrative type, sometimes it is the integration of different models. Take the interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch as an example, I spent more than 3 hours trying to follow every storyline. Even though I tried to make it different every time, there are limited possibilities about the ending. Some choices I made at the beginning may influence the branches. I feel like Bandersnatch is based on multiple models, such as fishbone narrative, parallel narrative, etc. And the advantage of that is the audience actually feel like they are a part of the story and they are the monster who control the character.

As a former UX designer, the word usability is a kind of cliche. But it is interesting to think about how the theory of usability works in a narrative. First of all, effectiveness teaches us to use the simplest language to convey the messages to the users. Don't make it complicated if it can be done in an easy way. And efficiency is about if the audiences are able to achieve their goals with limited steps. In a narrative, there might be side stories, however, the layout needs to be clear in order to avoid unnecessary interaction actions. Thirdly, how to make the audiences care about the characters and let them have an immersive experience can be summed as engagingness. Besides, thinking about all the possibilities in a narrative, because it is very possible that the audience is a trouble maker and try to break your system. Last but not least, the learning cost matters. One of the easiest ways to solve it is by making use of some existing mechanism in an interactive narrative.

© 2019 by Yixun Wang