Here are links to my sources:
Alternate Reality Game, Wikipedia
This piece uses hypertext to explore different parts of the author’s body. There is an entry page, but I soon got lost moving through the hypertext links, sometimes ending up on the same page and sometimes wondering how to get back. This also allows the reader to start to re-arrange the piece - for example, reading one paragraph from the first page, clicking on the hypertext link and reading that passage, and then going back to finish the first page.
In terms of decisions that the reader has to make, they have to decide where to click first and how to move over her body, which part to move to next through hypertext links or if they want to try to return to the first page. Other questions that that came to mind was, should I read all of the text on each page or jump around and eventually circle back enough that you read it all?
Hypertext works well here - it adds understanding of how the authors sees parts of her body as connected, like a map or a mental map of a space. In some ways though it was hard for me to finish reading each passage because I wanted to see what the other body parts were she was referencing. I found myself clicking back and forth, sometimes being surprised sometimes thinking “oh that makes sense” and more often than not comparing to my experience with my body.
This narrative has branches but still keeps a linear structure that the reader can go back to, unlike My Body in which the reader can choose their own path and enjoy feeling lost. This structure is very clear to the reader with the presence of “back” and “next” buttons which don’t exist in My Body. Within this structure, it gives the reader some choices that lead to different branches but all continue linearly moving the story forward.
There are points where the reader has to make decisions to move to different branches. In some cases, choices have been taken away, in this story indicating what someone who is not depressed would do. Within each branch, the reader can choose to get more information about a certain area of that path or move forward quickly without reading deeper.
Hypertext feels appropriate here because the story’s goal is to put the reader in the position of a person who is depressed and have to make hard decisions, even though many of the options feel small in the moment the hypertext function helps the reader understand how they have different outcomes and lead to new choices.
A Dictionary of the Revolution
In this dictionary hypertext us used to visually show the reader the “strength” of the connections between words. Instead of linearly reading through the dictionary, you can click through in the order you choose and explore connections in a manner that feels more natural and dynamic.
The reader has to decide how to navigate through the dictionary: do they read through in alphabetical order, visually noting the connections? Or click through to read about the strongest connections? Or choose what looks to be the weakest connections? Or do they click through at random?
Hypertext feels appropriate here and to me as a reader feels more intuitive than trying to read a list or dictionary in a linear way. Sometimes the number of choices feels overwhelming, but that is also reflective of reality. As a reader, I really got a sense of how complicated this environment was that I think I wouldn’t have understood if I had simply read the definitions for a list of terms.
Similar to 80 Days, this experience feels less like hypertext (in a traditional sense on the internet with links) than My Body and Depression Quest and more like an “interactive web page” or data visualization. This story is most similar to My Body because there is no prescribed way of navigating the site and it’s clear how each page (or term) references and is connected to the others - the authors have laid this out clearly and a big part of the “journey” is exploring, understanding and thinking about these connections..
This game uses hypertext to make decisions in the form of answering questions and taking new actions. These lead to additional narratives and new options for decisions and actions you can take.
The player has to decide how to answer questions and what actions to take next. These often feel like small differences and sometimes the player get forced in into one path after-all (for example, pretending to lose the tickets and being forced to say that you forgot to buy them).
Because this is a game, the branching narrative feels appropriate here. Even though it’s a linear journey the player still feels as though they have a lot of choice over which direction to go and what to do. Perhaps it was the phone interface, but at first it wasn’t clear to me what action I “should” take or if one was necessary at all. While it’s not clear how much the choices change the outcome, the small choices of how to respond did make me feel as though I had my own personality, rather than being forced into a character chosen for me.
Compared to the other stories, this feels less like hypertext because of the game elements and most similar to Depression Quest in its structure (but a much more complicated version).