A couple of days ago I was working my way through a slate of storytelling and publishing links when I found myself on the O’Reilly site. It’s one of those sites chock full of interesting links and notes, so I spent a few minutes just clicking around until I ended up looking at splash screen for Safari Books Online, which included works from Peachpit.
In that instant my current interest in digital and online storytelling suddenly merged with my ongoing interest in interactive storytelling, and I felt as if those divergent worlds had become a single focused image in mind. The cause for this convergence was my work as technical editor on Chris Crawford On Interactive Storytelling, a book written by Chris about his pioneering work in that fascinating and maddening field.
To coincide with the first day of the Independent Games Summit at GDC Austin, the famous Alamo Drafthouse independent theater in downtown Austin will be showing ‘Into The Night with Chris Crawford & Jason Rohrer‘ on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 at 10.15pm.
This documentary, originally shot for a European TV series featuring meetings between notable creators, and being shown in cinemas in the U.S. for the first time, “follows an extended conversation between the indie game designer Jason Rohrer and legendary game designer Chris Crawford.
What made that strange was that I was quite literally in the middle of converting and uploading an extended conversation about interactive storytelling that I’d had with Chris in 1999. (I now have the docs up as either online text or as a viewable/downloadable pdf. Hint: it’s a bruiser: go with the pdf.)
I’ve not only been lucky to know Chris, and to know about the work he’s doing, but he made it possible for me to join the interactive storytelling conversation at a very high level when I was transitioning out of Hollywood and into interactive entertainment. I first met Chris online in the Compuserve GameDev Forum, where he was the moderator. Having started the Game Developers Conference in his living room years earlier, then having lost it to a pack of wild dogs, Chris started another, smaller, invitation-only conference to which he invited me the first year, and in subsequent later years. At those conferences, and at the Game Developers Conference, I was able to debate ideas at the highest levels with people who were at the forefront of the medium, and for that I will always be thankful.
If you enjoy playing computer games or have an interest in interactive storytelling, you are following in the footsteps of a very interesting man who made a lot of things possible for a lot of people. Including me. He’s also put his money where his mouth is for over a decade in trying to crack the interactive storytelling nut, and there are few if any people who have the guts and resolve to do that kind of work. However successful his own efforts are, he has answered more questions about what is and is not possible than anyone else ever will.
No wonder they made a movie about the guy.
— Mark Barrett