Feb 26, 2013

AUTHENTIC, she said, IN ALL CAPS

The short: Christy Dena is funding her project, AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS, and it has just over 2 days left to make the cut.  It’s a narration-augmented web game for the iPad about finding the courage to be yourself in a satirical underworld run by quantum theorists.  The demo was nominated for a game writing award.  It’s going to be great.

authentic pointing!

The long: 

She sat down to type.  She paused, hands hovering over the keyboard, a howling coming from the wind inside in the laser exhaust output. She was tired, but the time was now.  Only 64 hours left to go.  It had to be done.

The narrator is a staple of storytelling on rails.  It’s the voice of the novel.  It made The Wonder Years so poignant and Arrested Development so funny.  We mock the poor, neckless narrator of  The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and marvel at the intracies, exaggerations and contradictions it can bring to light in a film like Goodfellas.

Narration in interaction is another matter.  It’s a technical and social challenge to make narration that works together with your player/audience, and all too often this falls flat.  And yet, we’re seeing an indie resurgence of truly amazing narration in games.  Bastion polished the narrator concept to a high gloss, and The Stanley Parable used it to elevate interactive narrative to the level of literature.

So how do we capture some of that magic in a web-based, ARG-like adventure?  Alternate Reality Game players are used to getting their core narrative thread from recap blogs, which lack a certain immediacy and ability to create dramatic moments.

Christy Dena (who, if you don’t know, is a brilliant Aussie transmedia designer with a CV so long you can wrap it around your neck twice) is about to show us, with the help of her cohorts Craig Peebles, Trevor Dikes and Simon Howe.  Their project, AUTHENTIC IN ALL CAPS, is an iPad app that takes you on an audio tour of the web, adding that core narrative voice to the artifacture of a web story.  The writing promises to be top notch: even the demo picked up a nomination for “Best Writing in a Game” at the Freeplay Independent Games Festival.

The project is halfway to the funding line as I write this, and the countdown has rolled over into hours!  Go check it out, if it sounds like your cup of tea.

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