This discussion on interactive fiction and games and narrative structure deals with the way that the author creates and the reader infers and connects. It provides some clear examples of narratives and discusses the elements. As an introduction for those of us not too familiar with interactive fiction it is great, as it is deep enough to give an overview of some of the features while constructing and revising an argument, and it also discusses some of the theoretical aspects and provides links for further reading.
I see more and more games with no story, only “backstory”. The game consists of piecing together what has gone before, and possibly performing a few anticlimactic actions to round it all off. Reviewers even speak of “the backstory” as if it’s the most important aspect of any game, right up there with mazes and hunger puzzles. It’s an outrage.
— Backstory, Stephen Bond
For authors of interactive stories, presenting most of your story as backstory is often convenient because you can tell what did happen in a place without having to code any NPCs or allow for any branching in the backstory narrative: the past is a part of the story your interactive reader can’t touch. It places those events beyond the reach of player agency. At its worst a backstory driven piece can seem soulless and lonely, as the player wanders desolate locations from which all the…
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