Friday, March 1, 2019

Game Play Stories: The Joys and Frustrations

I was unexpectedly out-of-town this week and spent a while trying to download [text] A Summer Story by Ayu Sakata. I was tech-blocked by my work Mac, my husbands iPad and our two Androids. But this pretty much maps to my prior experiences trying to get Wallpaper by Dreaming Methods to work. It's a visual story I've been trying to read for years. I even bought a game stick to use with it. But none of the computers at my disposal (work or home) are powerful enough to play it.

This is very frustrating. I really want to experience these stories. They do read like stories to me because there is so much text, enough to qualify as a read. And the walkthroughs I've seen, including this one for [text] (warning: the narrator is a teen/young kid and some may find his irreverent comments offensive) make the stories seem very appealing in an immersive way.

For instance, the immediacy of the choices put to the reader (whether by clicking link options of a branching plot or making decisions on movement through a space) place a sense of anxiety in the hearts of readers. This enhances the conflict, makes you part of the conflict. You're culpable in the outcome, after all. By literally putting the plot in your hands, a reader takes on a feeling of responsibility.

The effects of the image and sound don't make it any easier on you. You are primed to feel fear or happiness when sounds and images are presented to you.

[text] felt overwritten to me and there were five to ten minutes of reading that would go by before any choices were to be made. The editor in me says this could have been tightened up by half.  Walk throughs don't let you explore all the different endings either so I'm hoping to get another chance at this story when I'm back at a PC.

I did enjoy how the story had two fields of reading: the phone text itself and the running interior monologue to the right. Sounds and pictures are also "read" in a sense and it would be interesting to know how others chose to order their approach to "reading" each available element. Did you notice the picture and sound first or consider those after reading the text?


  1. Hi Nerdia, I tried to find a walkthrough on this because I couldn't figure it out for the longest time but was unable to find one. I had a hard time getting vested in the story because it kept ending for me. I think I saw about 4 different endings which is kind of confusing considering they don't explain anything about the other texter. I knew something was amiss but kept ending up on the train back home and it was rather frustrating for me.

  2. I tried to play though the story a couple of times also, but always ended up with no adventure and on the train back home. Over all I found the experience disappointing and the story dull because nothing ever really happened. So far I’m not digging the text based gaming. I prefer other methods of storytelling.

  3. I agree that it was a bit overwritten. At times I thought to myself, how much more reading before I get to choose the next option? I did read all the text though before I noticed the image in the background.