One revelation that sparked in my head when I was reading this piece was the fact that the four essential properties of creating a digital environment (namely, procedural, participatory, spatial and encyclopaedic) was not all establish at one go, instead this concept is only pieced together over time.
We start off by observing that digital environments are procedural through the example of Eliza. How rules that were created within Eliza’s responses that allows for behaviour and the embodiment of a therapist character. Though in my opinion, relatively rigid, this guides participants towards creating a narrative within the system.
Next, we see how Zork has evolved to include a participant into the system through its gameplay. It now focuses not only the rules but shifts towards what the participants was experiencing. Being able to more vividly engage the participants through challenges, Zork was able to evoke a sense of consequence- which is why I feel like there was a sense of participation as compared to Eliza.
To add on, Zork also gave a perception of space through its response content. By implying that the surroundings of the game could potentially affect the result of the game, this heightens the sensorial experience for the participants and have now suggest that there is an environment to navigate around. Analysing Victory Garden, the environment in and of itself already dramatises the message behind the piece. In both pieces, the environment plays a vital part to enhancing the narrative.
Lastly, looking at the many works that embodies the property of “encyclopaedic” , it seems to me that humans have evolved to really enjoy snooping around. For sure, there are still limitations in terms of what can be found and read but yet the idea of being able to take it in within your own time and sequence seems to grant this sense of assumed freedom which in present time seems to be a necessary trait for something to be immersive/ “living-in-the-moment”.
All in all, to me, I actually enjoy the fact that the idea of interactive narrative is constantly developing. There is still so much more ways and beauty to be discovered. For sure though not every way is going to be receptive but the fact that humans grow with these developments feels like theres a sense of challenge. Challenging humans to think and be comfortable with the way certain stories are being told but also to challenge storytellers to go beyond the unimaginable. The challenge seems awkwardly assuring and I take heart in it.