Yep, I was a Potterhead (the significance of this name wouldn't occur to me until much later in life), but that wasn't all. I just loved books. Earlier on I would read Sweet Valley Twins and Goosebumps and these little pocket books my mom would buy for me about a young girl with photographic memory. I remember being ecstatic when my grandma brought me to my first Manila International Book Fair. And to this day, books still run my life (because my biggest goal is to be able to publish one someday).
I'm sure everyone who grew up in the days before the internet and before micro-everything share my sentiments: the world has changed, and these little joys we'd experienced from sheets of paper made from dead trees are nothing but alien to Generation Z. The joy we used to get from watching characters grow, amplified by the impeccable word choice of authors -- these are difficult to grasp for a generation that grew up on animated shorts and Youtube videos.
But the same technology that has put books on the brink of becoming obsolete is also the same technology that might help bring back the appeal of storytelling. Authors, not to be dissuaded by slumps in physical book sales or profits cut into by piracy, have adapted to the times. They've transformed storytelling into a truly interactive experience, allowing readers to thrust themselves into the narrative in much of the same way Choose Your Own Adventure books had in the past.
You want games? You've got games.
- The internet loves scary stories. If the plethora of "Two-Sentence Horror Stories" lists on the internet is any indication, people will lap up a well-told horror story in seconds. And,
- It was presented in an innovative, interactive way.
If you look at the rest of the stories on StoriesForYourScreen.com, a website that specializes in publishing "the next viral short story", none of them garnered even just a fraction of the Likes that "annie96 is typing..." did. That's because most of these stories dealt with less popular genres, and were presented as prose, and nothing but.
"annie96 is typing...", meanwhile, allowed readers to experience the world the narrative was set in for themselves, offering just the right mix of familiarity and fantasy to be able to keep them on their toes.
Similarly, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey's "A Duck Has an Adventure" allows readers to play a duck, dictating his wants and needs and making decisions regarding everything from his career path to how he'll spend his days at the pond. An interesting take on a story that would otherwise be linear, "A Duck Has an Adventure" has 16 possible endings, which can only be unlocked through multiple play-throughs of the game.
There's very little doubt in my mind that it is. New mediums are constantly being discovered, and while the debate as to whether or not video games can be considered art continues to frustrate artists all over the world, there's no denying that more and more creative geniuses are turning to technology and the many avenues it affords for inspiration. I've always said that video games have some of the most interesting story lines (albeit featuring some cliches, but come on, what form of art isn't cliched in some way?), and it would make sense to transcend traditional prose and poetry and utilized technology to bring people back to storytelling.
In a few years, we could have interactive stories made with Google Glass, or the Oculus Rift (which is what Zuckerberg had in mind when he acquired every gamer's wet dream earlier this year anyway). Virtual reality narratives aren't too far down the road.
What does this mean for traditional prose? For the poets of our generation? I'm not sure. I'd love to say that we can adapt, but if, at this point, we're still stressing over how them youngins can't appreciate a good book, then we might be trapped in the future for a bit longer.
Do you guys know of any other interactive stories available online? I'd love to be able to play them! Let me know!