Interactive gaming is a term that can be used in many circumstances, and can be used across a growing range of games. The style itself refers primarily to games that adjust based on the player’s input. Two of the main examples that are used when referring to interactive gaming are parser and hypertext. Parser, which refers to a text based game that relies on player input, and hypertext which contains links that lead to the next section of the story. Through advancements in technology, and new creative ideas, we are beginning to see this interactive style among more recent games, like The Stanley Parable and others like Infamous. So the question then becomes, is “interactive gaming” an exclusive term for these text based games, or can it be used to encompass newer games?
Interactive fiction has a history of being linked to parser and hypertext games, making it appear as if these games are mainly text-based. While the origins of this genre are text based, it can be seen as so much more. Interactive fiction should be seen as a system that allows the user to fully interact with its surroundings. The user should be able to alter the outcome of the story based on the choices they make throughout. This pattern can clearly be seen in older hypertext and parser games, as well as the Stanley Parable.
The game, the Stanley Parable uses a first person style of play. A narrator speaks while the user is playing, thus giving hints as to what the player could be doing. It is not necessary to follow what the narrator says, giving the player a certain amount of freedom. The player is thus allowed to make choices based on their own desires. These choices then determine the outcome of the game, just like parser or hypertext games.
Porpentine’s article mentions the use of interactive gaming as a voice that can be used to speak against mainstream and capitalist gaming. Through the use of parser and hypertext, game makers, and those with a story to tell, have a cheap and effective way of creating a new world that will allow the player to take the given text and imagine the world themselves. It gives game makers a means to get their work into the world, without having to pass through the corporate machine.
While parser and hypertext are very effective means of story-telling, newer games, like the Stanley Parable, are showing how this interactive fiction can be incorporated into a broader form of art. The style is not limited to text based options, technology has progressed to the point where we can interact with our surroundings and alter the path of the story in modern gaming. While text based gaming remains an effective method of telling a story, there are many examples of how the broad term can be used to encompass the games of today.
Porpentine. “Creation Under Capitalism and the Twine Revolution.” Nightmare Mode. 25 November 2012.