The question I want to make clear is what the difference between interactive storytelling, interactive movie, interactive drama, interactive fiction, interactive narrative, interactive narration and art game. So I will try to figure it out in this article. It is not a comprehensive investigation, just a forming of a clear general understanding.

Let’s start with definitions (from Wikipedia):

  1. Interactive storytelling (also known as interactive drama) is a form of digital entertainment in which the storyline is not predetermined.
  2. The term interactive video usually refers to a technique used to blend interaction and linear film or video.
  3. Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, is software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives, either in the form of Interactive narratives or Interactive narrations.
  4. An interactive narrative is one which is composed with a branching structure where a single starting point may lead to multiple developments and outcomes. The principle of all such games is that, at each step of the narrative, the user makes choices that advance the story, leading to new series of choices. Authoring nonlinear narrative or dialogue thus implies imagining an indefinite number of parallel stories.
  5. In works of interactive narration, there is only one narrative but the method of delivery requires the user to actively work to gain the next piece of the narrative or have to piece the parts of a narrative that they have together in order to form a coherent narrative.This is the narrative approach of some modern video games. A player will be required to reach an objective, complete a task, solve a puzzle, or finish a level before the narrative continues.
  6. Art game is a video game designed to emphasize art or whose structure is intended to produce some kind of reaction in its audience.

So interactive storytelling and interactive drama are the same and are the “umbrella” term for the rest of the definitions. Interactive fiction is a form of narration which could be subdivided into Interactive narratives and Interactive narrations, which differ by the number of storylines.

Art game is kind of from the different field, as it is a subdivision of games which are a part of interactive storytelling.

It is all about storytelling in general, but I have to go deeper and find something specific that I want to explore for my thesis. At the moment, I am going to focus on cinematic storytelling, and the next step is to figure out what I will be passionate to investigate in this field.

Cover image source:

When I give my wife the choice of Joe’s Crab Shack or Fridays all you can eat apps for 10 dollars… from reactiongifs