« Home | post, the long one » | post, the first »


“...transposability of the story is the strongest reason for arguing that narratives are indeed structures independent of any medium...”

Choose a narrative that has been expressed in both an interactive and a non-interactive medium. Discuss how the transposition to/from interactive media has changed the narrative. Has the structure of the narrative remained intact?

The Wachowski Brothers catapulted themselves to cult fame with "The Matrix" in 1999, which combined groundbreaking special effects with philosophical musings on the human experience. Four years later, in between the back-to-back releases of the next two installments of the trilogy, they offered "Enter the Matrix", a game which allowed you to take control of either one of two secondary characters from "Matrix Reloaded" and run around the Matrix universe doing all the cool stuff including activating "Bullet Time", and hacking into the mainframe. The game culminated in medias res, to be concluded in the final movie.

I admit this is a rather peculiar example to choose, for here the interactive medium of an electronic action game actually allows the viewers of the movie to effectively fill in the narrative gaps between the movies. Thus rather than retaining and preserving the original narrative, "Enter the Matrix" actually helps render the narrative complete and whole. It is a necessary component to retain the structural integrity of the narrative. Transposition here therefore serves then to close the narrative loop, by apparently empowering the audience to faciliate that closure/kernel.


Interactive media allows for choice and control on the part of the reader/user. What problem does this raise for self-regulation? What, if anything, does this suggest about designing interactive narrative?

The immediate problem is that once when choice and control is given to the user, the user becomes the author(albeit in a limited sense, depending on the medium), whether or not he realises it. The reader/author plays both roles simultaneously, and self-regulation ceases to effectively function. For the shift in authorial control indicates that the narrative itself is destablized, because it is no longer just the creative product of the original author.

Intuitively and logically, it suggests this: For self-regulation to be maintained, and not have the narrative disrupted needlessly, restrictions must be imposed on the user's choice and control, so that authorial authority remains largely in the domain of the original author. This would then restrict the degree of interactivity experienced by the user.


Think of an example of the use of narrative in interactive media. With reference to your example, suggest what the “peculiar nature” of interactive media may be, and which narrative effects it may specialize in.

"Enter the Matrix" departs from conventional ideas of narrative, by allowing the gamer to help solidify the "indeterminacies", or complete the inherent ellipsis in the narrative, as well as subverting to a certain extent the idea of interactivity, for the game allows for a digression of sorts. Rather than empowering the gamer to significantly alter the narrative, the game merely indulges in a little fantasy digression of sorts, unraveling a secondary narrative tangent, in which the gamer's actions will appear to ultimately resonate in the linear filmic narrative.

The Matrix is a very interesting example - particularly because the whole idea of going in and playing a character within the game/narrative also reflects back on the theme and content of the story itself - you really are "entering the matrix"...

Post a Comment

About me

  • I'm lucasho
  • From Singapore, Singapore
  • slow down, hold still
    every crooked line of this sad city.
    down by the river; we'll play awhile,
    looking for that elusive goldmine;
    maybe i'm a little weak to dance.

    it's a beautiful piece of heartache...
    yeah, we're gonna be alright.
My profile
Powered by Blogger