> Choose Your Own Adventure narratives have existed in other mediums — like books — for decades, yet have not found large audiences.

Interactive video-based stories have also existed for decades (in the form of quicktime-event-based games built on laserdisc tech like Dragon’s Lair & later in the form of FMV games on PCs). Bandersnatch is, essentially, an extremely high-budget extremely low-tech FMV game (as I’m sure many people involved with its production are fully aware).

Ultimately, if we want to see these things survive, the people making them need to look not just at conventional AAA-style video games (even though quicktime-oriented games like Heavy Rain are similar to what they’re doing) but to the genres that have been mining the possibilities of interactive narrative (with emphasis on narrative) for 35 years: visual novels (which have similar constraints to Bandersnatch’s tech) and parser-based IF. Most of the technical limitations that created the mechanics and tropes of FMV no longer exist, but we ought to look at FMV games as well, in part because their success was so short-lived.

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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