Beyond Ellen Page

The Limits of Agency in the Interactive Storytelling

Essay - Beyond Two Souls

But ultimately, the interactive elements of Beyond: Two Souls prove to be of inadequate meaningfulness. Your participation as a player has minimal importance on how events unfold throughout the game. While players are given the opportunity to react to events and interact with the world, there is no real in-game penalty for failure, often including failure to act. The game creates numerous Deus ex machina situations to bail players out and reveals the general lack of agency the player has in influencing the game world. In Beyond: Two Souls, telling the story is more important than playing it. Continue Reading

Sustainable Fiction

Between Interactive Drama and Videogames

Essay - Sustainable Fiction

Heavy Rain exists in the amorphous folds of generic labeling brought about by the blurred boundaries of digital media. What do I mean by this? Simply, that with increasing frequency artifacts are being created which do not fit neatly into already established categories. Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream, 2010) is one such artifact. In one sense, it’s clearly a videogame, right? It’s played on the Playstation 3 system, I hold a controller in my hand, and my input controls the action on the screen. Upon completing the game, however, Heavy Rain presents the user with a trophy that contains the text, “Thank you for supporting interactive drama.” This small addition speaks volumes to the developers’ desire to change the perceptions of what videogames can accomplish… Continue Reading