Friday Fun #4 Digital Storytelling

The second of this week’s “fun things to try out’ is an online digital story, the first of six, that are being released, one per week, over the next six weeks (so I guess this could be assumed to be a good Friday Fun destination site over that period, just anyway?! ;-)

The site is at, with the first story, The Twenty One Steps, being told “across” an interactive Google map. I intend to post several items about the role of stories, and “narrative”, over the next few weeks, so if you do get a chance to, err, read (?) this story, I encourage you to do so…

There’s a fascinating backstory to this project, too, which has been documented in part by Adrian Hon, one of the designers of the project: Stories, Games, and The 21 Steps, and who speaks in interview here: Q&A: Perplex City Creators Craft ‘We Tell Stories’.

To what extent do you think a narrative, or story, is an important feature of a game? Is “The 21 Steps” a game? What features does it have in common with a game? To what extent would you say “The Twenty Steps” is an example of interactive digital media, and why? How does the technology support the telling of the story?

And PS 10 points for whoever posts the first summary of what Perplex City, which is mentioned in some of the background notes to the game, was all about…

4 Responses to “Friday Fun #4 Digital Storytelling”

  1. 1 Juliette White March 22, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Ooh, I’ve just finished reading ‘Second Person’ (editted by Pat Harrigan and Noah Wardrip-Fruin) which is excellent and all about the relationship between stories and games.

    Of course, it’s possible to read ‘The 21 steps’ and not discover some of the more game-like aspects of We Tell Stories too – is a game still a game if people don’t realise that it is? ;-)

    (I know far more about PXC than I did a few months ago, but still don’t think I’m in a position where I could even think about writing a summary! The Perplex City Card Catalog is one starting point though).

  2. 2 Tony Hirst March 22, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    “is a game still a game if people don’t realise that it is?”

    Good question… in what sense is invisible theatre a theatre performance if no-one realises it is a performance. (In that case, the performer knows… maybe all that’s required is that the game ‘knows’ it’s a game? ;-)

    Alternate Reality Games (ARGs – ) are games to the people playing them, even if, to all intents and purposes, it does not appear to onlookers that they are seeing someone playing a game, and may even be a part of that game as far as the player is concerned…

    Re: Second Person ( ) – may I borrow it? ;-)

    PS if a book is left on a train station by someone who mentioned dropping it on , is it in anyway different to a book *just* left there?

  3. 3 Juliette White March 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Sure you can borrow it – let me know when you’re on campus :)

  1. 1 Games as Stories? Are Games a Form of Interactive Fiction? « Digital Worlds - Interactive Media and Game Design Trackback on March 28, 2008 at 11:19 am

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