I’m working on a big set piece about Narrative Automata for ACM Hypertext next month in Prague. In practice, I’m writing a small book about narrativist games, storytelling entertainments, hyperdrama, and recent hypertext narratives.
I’ve got a few queries for my colleagues.
- Is there any academic review or survey of narrativist games?
- Has any critic other than Emily Short looked at Iain Pears’ Arcadia as a hypertext, or with an awareness of the history of electronic literature?
- Same question for Joanna Walsh’s Seed, with the further question of whether Seed should be read as a response to Arcadia?
- If you’re interested in narrativist games, what games would you want to find in the bibliography?
Travel and food tips for Prague are also most welcome! Want to meet up? Email me.
Here’s the abstract:
Festival of Narrative Automata
CRITICAL THEORY FOR FUN
Hypertext research has been deeply interested a narrative, and literary hypertext fiction has enjoyed a long and happy relationship to this conference. The literature of Critical Theory, on the other hand, is famously opaque, and our Balkanized technical literature on new media storytelling has grown provincial.
Daring yet accessible experiments in non-sequential interactive narrative have appeared in unexpected places – in theaters, in experimental novels, and especially in narrativist role-playing games. These narrative automata exhibit considerable sophistication in the frame of simple models of computation. Much of this work is a lot of fun while demonstrating remarkable theoretical depth. In contrast to the cheery hero journeys through depopulated landscapes that long dominated computer games, this work is notably dark, emotionally complex, and introspective.