How to Write Interactive Fiction and Interactive Audio Stories – 018 – Continued Play and Playing Again

Inspiration and Insights

Interactive stories exist in many different formats. Before you begin to laboriously dig for ideas regarding stories, plots, scenes, and game mechanics, staring in frustration at a white browser background, you can simply have a look at what other authors have done already.

The following is just a short list. For many of these works you can find reviews, YouTube videos, blog entries, and other analyses online.

Gamebooks

  • “Lone Wolf” – Joe Dever
  • “Fighting Fantasy” – Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson
  • “Fabled Lands” – Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson
  • “Choose Your Own Adventure” – R. A. Montgomery
  • “Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland”; “The Wicked Wizard of Oz” – Jonathan Green
  • “DestinyQuest” – Michael J. Ward
  • Demian’s Gamebook Web Page offers a list of nearly every gamebook ever published: gamebooks.org

Interactive Audio Stories

Interactive Story-Apps for Smartphone

  • Episodes
  • Delight Games

Interactive Video Games

  • Life is Strange
  • Last of Us
  • Until Dawn
  • Detroit – Become Human
  • Heavy Rain
  • Banner Saga
  • Disco Elysium

Interactive movies and series

  • Netflix offers several interactive story genres and formats:

Summary

Target Audience and Player Types:

  • Summarize your target audience in one sentence to focus the design of your story to this group. Besides gender and age, players of interactive story formats can be divided into further groups:
    • “Good” players want to do the right thing, “evil” players want to act free from moral bonds, and independent players want to choose situationally.
    • Gamers want to win the game and perform as best as possible. Dramatists want to hear gripping and thrilling stories. Explorers want to discover every nook and cranny of your story.
    • Distracted players want to be able to follow your story even if they are not listening closely. Focused players want to be rewarded for their attentiveness with a lot of interactivity.
  • Focus on one of these player types, especially for your first stories. Multi-faceted Player Choices and Player Utterances will allow you to reach several of these player types.
 

Player Retention and Replayability:

  • Use foreshadowing, far-reaching player choices, the archetypal hero’s journey, and cliffhangers to keep your players playing.
  • Use different endings, an interesting world, different story paths, random elements, and save points to make your players play the story again. But remember that all the different paths have to be satisfying in themselves in case a player plays through your story only once.
 

Further Insights:

  • There are already many gamebooks, web stories, smartphone apps, computer games, and shows out there that feature interactive storytelling and can serve as inspiration.
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