Hypertext Stories

I believe that all the examples presented in this week’s readings are considered stories. Each of them presents an intriguing way of telling their own series of events. Some are more linear, like How to Rob a Bank, while the others are looser.

The way that With Those  We Love Alive presents its narrative is similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book. There are several possibilities at most junctures in the story. Locations are presented to the user, and different items are interacted with in each. The user can also dictate some of the details of the story by interacting with the purple links. Purple links are able to be changed until the user decides they’re satisfied, then can be locked in place with a final click.

My Boyfriend Came Back from the War is even more open and freeform than the prior work. There are many options at most points through the story, divided up into sections. You can read through a section, clicking and moving it along, but you can also go between different sections. The user determines the speed at which each piece of narrative is developed, which creates for a very large range of possibilities. Sections also break up into smaller sections after a certain amount of development. The user needs to piece together much more of the story here, as it’s delivered in very small fragments.

How to Rob a Bank is such a product of a particular time. It’s like a time capsule, in a way. Everything is delivered to the user through screen captures. Emails, texts, news articles, Google searches. The series of events here is the most linear. The user has no choices other than to simply progress forward.

3/21/23 Blog Post

With two out of the three Hypertext stories that we were required to read, I saw a clear story line, with character development and a plot that was easy to follow. It was with the first hypertext, “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War,” that I couldn’t really find any of that, and it made it hard to follow. The way it was read was random and confusing, and at the end I was left with a bunch of blank boxes and no clear way to move forward. I still think that piece could be considered a story if read the right way, but it is a super abstract piece and has no linear way of reading it compared to “How to Rob a Bank” or “With Those We Love Alive.” I really enjoyed “How to Rob a Bank” because of how easy it was to read it and identify the plot and characters in the story, and it was cool to experience the story through what their phone is seeing. We see the two characters grow in their own way and the biggest change I saw was when their kid was born. We see through the notes app that the mother is in love with her child and is ready to settle down, which is a change from the ignorant woman that we saw at the beginning of the story who fell in love with this “bad-boy” bank robber. In “With Those We Love Alive”, the structure of the story is very non-linear, with each page of tet having multiple avenues that you can take to further the story. Many of these avenues loop back around, giving the reader a chance to understand the full story. I found this useful when exploring the different rooms of the palace/castle and getting a feel of what the world space of the story is like.

Week 10 Blog Post

Hello everyone,

The three works we looked at during break and into this week brought me all the way back to elementary school where I would constantly read Choose Your Own Adventure books. Indeed, each work should be considered stories.

For example, With Those We Love Alive is a story that requires the reader, or for better terms the person interacting with the story, to put the pieces of the narrative together. Much like how a choose your own adventure book would have you turn to the page of your desired decision, the webpage would “turn” to the consequential page of your chosen highlighted word. Similarly, in My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, the pattern of click destination is used to progress the story, once again requiring the reader to take each piece of information they are given and put together the story on their own. The narrative exists, but it isn’t quite as linear as How to Rob a Bank. That being said, How to Rob a Bank utilizes a more linear presentation of key presses to progress the story forward, much like a slideshow. The story still requires pieces to be assembled but aids the reader by handing out the pieces as the story progresses instead of having them seek out the information solo.

I found each work to have a certain level of engagement that partners with the linearity of the narrative. I’m going with this thought as a personal preference, as others may feel differently. Having the ability to progress, change, and choose the path a story follows gives another level of meaning to each work, with the reader becoming a part of the story itself.

Lastly, I want to quote Scott McCloud:

“Generally speaking, the more is said with words, the more the pictures can be freed to go exploring and vice versa”. (pg. 155)

All three of these works utilize pictures and words, some using one more than the other, to present a world for their story that the reader creates through each page, slide, and frame. A fantastic experience and quite the nostalgia trip.


Hypertext and Hypermedia

Yes, the computer has changed storytelling. However focusing on hypermedia, the popularity is lackluster. I believe a major problem that was only recently solved was that the most popular hypertext program was only compatible with Apple. With the creation of Twine hypermedia can now have a larger creator base, leading to more content that can potentially reach more users.

The best kind of stories that work with hypermedia are ones where the author wants the user to find the story, traditional stories can work but they are kind of clunky in their presentation.

“My Boyfriend Came Back from the War”
The navigation and eventual division of the screenspace was very interesting and was most interesting part of this work. There was definitely plot but any character development was lost in the medium. I couldn’t tell the chronological order of events except that the center division of the screen became the war events.

“How to Rob a Bank”
This was more directly a traditional story and was very linear. The use of showing the searches was a good way of showing us what the character was thinking about. I also enjoyed being able to use the arrow keys to transition forward and backward through the narrative.

“With Those We Love Alive”
This story is the type of story that I believe works best in a hypertext format. You can make choices to explore the environment and learn about the world somewhat organically. I especially liked the ability to influence the details of the story but that interaction wasn’t well explained.

Hypertext and Hypermedia

I would consider all three of these works to be stories. Although some are more linear than others, there is a plotline present in each one that is given to the audience in a unique way. I found “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War” to be the most confusing as the way it is presented requires the reader to deeply consider each line. I thought the imagery chosen for it, as well as the boxed format for most of the text, highlighted this element. While it was a little convoluted, I also found that this was part of what made the story engaging. “How to Rob a Bank” uses its format and music to draw you in quickly, although I had a few technical issues at the beginning that could drive casual users away. Out of the three, “With Those We Love Alive” has the strongest connection to the choose your own adventure genre. The layout and variety of options feels exactly like what an interactive story would have.

Each of the three stories contain a world for the reader to explore, but none of them do it the same way. “My Boyfriend Came Back from the War” and “With Those We Love Alive” represent this the most, as their storytelling is fragmented and requires the reader to actively investigate in order to discover each piece that, in the end, creates a picture. “How to Rob a Bank” follows a more linear process that audiences are more familiar with, but still combines it with digital mediums to provide a unique experience.

Altogether, I found these stories to be a great illustration of what you can do with imagination on the web. Between Twine and coding, there are a lot of ways to create a story that is unique and captivating to an audience. Regardless of the presentation, I would say that all three of these projects have interesting storylines with immense thought put behind them.