“Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four Naughty Concepts in Need of Discipline” – Eric Zimmerman


Narrative, interactivity, play and games. The author describes the need of discipline for these four concepts to sit well with each other and how they get to their audiences. While the definitions for a ‘narrative’ is generic, what was defined for ‘interactivity’ was more thought provoking.

Eric Zimmerman describes them as four concepts that come together and work nicely instead of seeing them as categories. Indeed, this strikes a strong point as a successful interactive narrative displays a good amalgamation of these points, with no one point overweighing the other. They are namely 1) Cognitive interactivity, or interpretive participation with a text 2) Functional interactivity; or utilitarian participation with a text Mode 3: Explicit interactivity; or participation with designed choices and procedures in a text Mode 4: Meta-interactivity or cultural participation with a text.

I was rather enlightened that an interactive piece could be viewed in such levels which also draws my attention to the reading ‘Medium is the message’. It made me question if a higher level of interactivity would REQUIRE a more complex choice of medium.