Module 9: Interactive Fiction/Twine Workshop
Welcome to module 9 of Digital Methods for Disability Studies and the second module on critical game design. This module delves into the world of interactive fiction; you will be playing and experimenting with choose-your-own-adventure stories and will learn how to use the free program Twine (https://twinery.org) to create your own interactive narratives. This part of the Pressbook turns to engaging with critical game design and the construction of meaningful games, as well as its intersection with accessibility. Before moving on, play two of the games listed in “assigned readings for this week” in order to have a frame of reference for the kinds of games and themes this module engages with.
Interactive stories bring the reader into the scene and make them an active participant in the process of constructing a narrative. Interactive stories can be immersive and engaging. They allow players to make choices that can affect the outcome or ending of a story, giving those choices emotional consequences. They also allow game designers the freedom to experiment with branching narratives that have different endings, or to share additional backstory, lore, or other information. However, as we will learn, interactive stories also offer designers the exciting opportunity to subvert this power of choice in creative ways which can make their narrative’s message even more powerful. Use the module activities to experiment with structure and shape, and be as creative as you’d like.
This module builds upon ideas of critical play to think about how we can bring illness, disability, access, care, and health into our games in powerful, critical, and constructive ways. You will be invited to share your own experiences through game design and to reflect on the potential of immersive/interactive narratives to communicate and share emotions with the player.
Some questions to guide this lesson:
- How do game designers create access in their work?
- How do mad, sick, mentally ill, and disabled creators use games to challenge ableism, to educate, advocate, and/or to demonstrate care for the player?
- In what ways are games accessible/inaccessible?
- What participation barriers (physical, attitudinal, social, cultural, emotional) exist on game platforms and gaming communities more broadly?
- What comes to mind when you think about accessibility in games and accessible forms of play? What do accessible games/game design look like to you?
- What digital skills are needed to play and make these games? How are those skills acquired?