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A screenshot from Skyrim (Skyrim belongs to Bethesda.)

Stories have existed in various formats throughout history. They began as tales passed from one person to another before becoming tangible as novels, plays, etc. on paper. In this era, stories have transitioned from just words into film, television, video games, etc. that can be shared easily throughout the entire world.

Obviously, the next stage for storytelling in media was to make it more interactive. A story that could turn the audience into the user and allow them to make choices and suffer consequences based on those choices. This doesn’t mean they’re the future for the film and television industry. In fact, I would prefer for interactive stories to be made only for video games because that is the medium that best suits them.

Perfect examples of interactive storytelling in video games are games such as Skyrim, Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto, or even The Sims. Games where you can create your own characters, influence or make their choices, and flesh out their stories the way you want to is the ideal goal for an interactive story. In these sorts of games you don’t feel disconnected from yourself and the character. However, in interactive stories in film, you’re given a character (most of the time) that you follow and only make choices for; you never feel that you yourself are affected by any choice made in the way that a character that is an extension of yourself would make you feel.