This Winter quarter at UCSC, my final winter quarter :(, I took Interactive Storytelling with Michael Mateas (that genius dude behind Façade). It was a brilliant class! Mateas had just come back from sabbatical and was rather perky the whole quarter. We had a chance to break down the do-games-really-need-stories debate in a very academic way, that is to say we determined the two sides are both highly subjective so therefore the debate will never cease. Games are rather expressive but we can probably agree they aren’t expressive enough. So instead of getting caught up in an endless debate, let’s make new and interesting things and make games a better medium overall! (If only you could have been to some of Professor Mateas’ inspiring lectures).
Anyways, I worked on an interactive fiction with my friend Melanie for the class. You experience the birth, life and death of a volcano. That volcano is you in fact! You can influence the climactic ending for the volcano based on how you interact with the environment around yourself, by erupting, quaking, steaming, or releasing gas.
I hope this game shows you the potential for games to expressively convey an interactive non-human narrative to players. It’s not everyday you get to be a volcano! Games can put you deep within a world to express ideas from radically different perspectives. That’s powerful!
[To play with a desktop IF interpreter of your choice]