As We Have Watched: What Now Arises from a Reconsideration of the Concept of Interactive Digital Narrative

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If we consider the publication of Bandersnatch (Slade) by Netflix as a watershed moment for interactive digital narrative (IDN), are we to believe that we have now moved into a golden age or do we remain in an age of discovery? Tom Abba, in the Journal of Media Practice, situates the moment of publication of his article as a turning point for IDN, though Abba concludes that the degree to which experiments in IDN have been enabled has, up to 2008, been extremely limited. Now, some twelve years later and three years’ post-Bandersnatch, the opportunity to experiment has finally been granted. A group of second year media production students at a UK university did so in collaboration with (an online IDN story map editor). This paper revisits Abba’s 2008 article to reflect on issues that emerge from the experience of introducing IDN to undergraduate students on a program of study. Initial findings offer insights into the sequencing of the development process alongside an emerging framework for the generation of an aesthetic of dramatic agency. Re-evaluating the differences between IDN and other forms of interactive experiences establish a means for thinking about IDN as a distinct, unique practice. In conclusion, this paper poses a final question by asking if we can reconsider IDN in terms of what we have watched rather than, as Abba terms it, what we might watch.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-173
Number of pages16
JournalInteractive Film & Media Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022


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