08/13 Presentation Nordmedia 2013
The paper discusses a hypertext narrative, “Hvor er Alexa?” [Where is Alexa?], made as an autonomous part of the website informasjonskompetanse.no (informasjonskompetanse.no/hvoreralexa/). This narrative explores playful and gamelike features when it comes to user activities and structure, and represents an example of blurred boundaries between "game", hypertext and narrative.
Games, hypertext narratives and traditional narratives all break a story into possible events. In different ways users are lead towards essential events (kernels), and and less important events (satellites). With this approach one can sequence events as a narrative path between plot points, in ways that are somewhat similar to the interactive experiences within the levels in a game.
The case study, “Hvor er Alexa?”, exemplifies a reactive hypertext. This means that any link activated by the user, will always give the same response. The number of available choices, and the possible paths through the narrative, do, however, become so large that the experience ends up with something that is difficult to distinguish from an interactive text (where the user input is processed live, by the computer in order to give feedback). Still, an outside observer will need multiple, and systematic readings to be able to identify interactive and reactive elements. This is a key element when designing, both playful hypertexts and games, where the secret is to make the reactive functions appear as they are interactive.