Interaction Fiction (IF) is the perfect blend of gaming and storytelling and has the power to engage your X-Box aficionados with both reading and writing. Kristian Still, Assistant Head at Hamble Community Sports College in Southampton is an Interactive Fiction expert and enthusiast, having seen the evidence of its impact first hand. Why should you head over to textadventures.co.uk after you are done reading this post? Because IF can make a difference to your students attitudes to reading.
So… what is Interactive Fiction?
Interactive Fiction is on-screen text adventure gaming. It is not a new phenomena, & has been around for decades & although mostly textual, the term can sometimes refer to all adventure games, including wholly graphical adventures such as Myst. It may be niche, but it’s certainly passionate and global, with its own international writing competitions, superstar authors and numerous community sites.
Simply put, Interactive Fiction tells you the beginning of the story through text and then it puts you in charge and let’s you decide what your next move in the story should be. You are the game and you have to solve the problems which the story presents. In effect the decisions that you, the reader makes will determine the subsequent information that you are given, the parts of the story or the clues you are presented with, the areas you have access to and ultimately the journey which you go on to get to the end of your story. And the end of your story could be quite different to the end of the next player’s.
Kristian says: “A good example to help you get your head around Interactive Fiction is the short Escape from Byron Bay – . Notice I said short and not simple. The first ever title written by “Mr Heard” an ICT teacher with little IF experience”. You can hear the thoughts of some lads involved in a bit of Interactive programming, in these podcasts.
When we asked Kristian about the educational value of Interactive Fiction he said “I have been experimenting with Interactive Fiction with a few of my classes…
“One observation consistent with all the groups is that playing IF is tough”.
“IF demands good deduction skills and also facilitates text engagement and comprehension. After all, not paying close attention to the text, either leaves you without closure, or results in your untimely demise. Or at least your player gets it in the neck”.
“The second observation is more important, almost all the students have engaged with reading and playing IF titles and my so called “reluctant readers” are no longer… well, reluctant.
In fact, they are quite despondent when I tell them we are not “text adventuring” today. And it is not just my classes, there are a handful of colleagues investigating how Interactive Fiction can be used to engage learners. So what is stopping you? Quest is a free text adventure authoring and there is a hatful of titles, again all free”.
“I don’t wish to overwhelm you and there is so much more I could share with you, however, let’s take stock.
Interactive Fiction engages readers, in fact it demands the reader to pay attention.
Throw in a good measure of problem solving skills, depending on the type of Interactive Fiction being read. And writing Interactive Fiction requires a much broader set of skills, it is so much more than creative writing”.
… You decide …
Category: 2) Useful n Interesting