Monday, June 15, 2009

Cave of Time

I finished reading Cave of Time a few weeks ago and didn't get around to posting about it until just now. I think that I wasn't jumping to post this because I felt what Simon Cowell would call underwhelmed by the book. The book is a "choose your own adventure," "tree book", "game book" and/or "interactive narrative". The story was written in Each story is written in second person and so the reader became part of the story by dictating the choices and actions that the protagonist would make throughout the narrative. This was achieved by simple directives that followed at the bottom of a page where the character was at a crossroads- for example- if you choose to go into the cave go to page 5, if you decide to go on a horse ride to a castle go to page 11. In theory I thought that the concept was fun - but I felt that the resulting story was a little bit boring and sort of like clicking link after link in your browser following a whim. The plot lines were weak and I think the novelty of having say in the future of your reading is what added to the success of these books. I would also add that each reading of the book took 20 minutes maximum. Maybe this is what also appealed to its readers.

Although I am speakingly negatively about my experience, I do think that these are all things that are important to consider in regards to my potential audience. I need to remember that it is a game and that it needs to be fairly quick paced and to- the- point in order to be successful.
So, I do need to keep in mind:
  • TIME: keep each portion of the narrative short and decision making limited
  • PLOT: the plot doesn't need to be wildly complicated to be interesting/fun
  • INTERACTION: a choice can be as simple as deciding to go left or right
  • FUN: the novelty of the game playing interaction or core mechanic will provide a certain element of fun- not to be overlooked.
  • AUDIENCE: keep the game appropriate to the age of your reader/player

I did read that some of the other books in the series dealt with more historical fiction and/ or political type topics. I am going to try to get my hands on one of these books, however I do feel that these books are like a one liner joke in that you get what they are about within 5 minutes.