On the New Media end, I’ve been trying hard to be a good friend to Trip and Grace, whom I’ve not seen in quite a while. Trip called and invited me to come for a visit and it was great to see them, for at least the first few minutes. The next thing you know, they’re having a fight and I find out their marriage is in serious trouble.
The above is a situation posed by the interactive work, Facade, and I was enticed by Steve of The Great Lettuce Head to get involved. It is a fascinating piece of work in its concept, although it seems primitive compared to video games with characters and environment very much like cartoon images–although I do recall reading Scott McCloud’s "Understanding Comics" and the minimalism used in expression to denote emotion (frown), explosive event (BAM!), etc. that is employed by Facade.
A big part of the understanding of a piece of this nature is the workings behind it. Trying to figure out what makes who react in a given manner is more important in a way than how the story progresses. It’s the underlayering that makes it worth looking at and playing with. A couple years ago I invoked Eliza, and fell into both the threats and silliness that is an invitation because of the frustration in manipulating the conversation. But Eliza was created in 1966, and we’ve come a long way since then.
I’m still trying to figure out if there’s a script that really maneuvers or controls all questions asked (the player types in text, the characters reply in audio and with video expressions and movements), or if it is indeed created in a more infinite manner than say, a video game. The main characters, Trip and Grace, didn’t seem to listen to me.
But then again, this happens to me a lot in real life too.