I’m the lead designer for We Tell Stories – it’s a website created for Penguin, in which six authors are telling six stories in ways that are completely original to the web.
Our first story, The 21 Steps (a homage to The 39 Steps) was told over Google Maps; another was written live and displayed in real-time, in five hour-long installments, by Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. This week’s was by Matt Mason (‘The Pirate’s Dilemma’) and Nicholas Felton (‘Felton Personal Annual Report’), and they created an infographic snapshot of teen life and the new media world.
We’re really pleased with all these stories, but the final sixth story is coming out on Tuesday, and it’s the one I’m most impressed by. It’s basically an unholy cross between a text adventure, choose your own adventure, and dungeon map. Technically speaking, it’s not very sophisticated, but it has an interface that I’m sure hasn’t been done before.
It’s written by Mohsin Hamid – author of the Booker-shortlisted ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’. I would be the first to say that good novelists or screenwriters don’t necessarily make good game writers, but in this case, Mohsin really nailed it and he wrote a story that shows a very deep understanding of interactive storytelling; it’s called ‘The (Former) General in his Labyrinth’.