In my earlier discussion on Found Stories, I mentioned three interactive stories that I wanted to examine. This first of these, Ruins, is the oldest and perhaps the simplest in terms of approach. Dear Esther is more recent and takes the form of a dimensional first person, um, well, not a ‘shooter’ as there is no shooting… a first person wanderer? The story begins on a dock at the shores of a deserted island, probably somewhere in the Outer Hebrides or maybe an outlying island of the Orkneys. Without knowing anything about this ‘game’ it would be easy to think that there will be monsters or ghosts or something that will need violent dealing to, but there is not. There is a mystery… but it is not an extrinsic mystery. This is where things get interesting.
Ruins, by Cardboard Computer is a free, slightly older example of the Found Story, and if you’d like to experience what this mode of storytelling is like you can download it and toy around. Possibly, you should do so before even reading this piece. Although I will try to avoid spoilers, I may end up revealing some elements of the tale, and a big part of the joy of Found Stories, is discovering the story, piece by gradual piece.
There is a very embryonic form of storytelling emerging from the creative world at the moment. We are perhaps on the threshold of a totally new field of storytelling, and that’s an exciting interesting thing. That said, I remain a little unsure whether The Melbourne Review of Books is even the right venue to be reviewing these storytelling experiments, as they are not books exactly… although on the other hand, a podcast or audiobook or eBook isn’t a traditional book either, and the storytelling urge and principles in these new story objects is closer to novels than to film or TV.