Interactive Narrative: Ice-Bound

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Ice-bound is an upcoming narrative experience combining a printed book with an iPad app. Telling a multi-layered story about a polar base sinking into the ice, a famous author’s unfinished final novel, and a doubt-riddled artificial intelligence given an impossible task, the project uses procedural generation and augmented reality to help create a truly unique experience where story and gameplay melt into one another.

A collaboration between Aaron Reed and Jacob Garbe, two award-winning writers and game artists, and inspired by the fractal narratives of Borges, Danielewski, Calvino, and Nabokov, Ice-bound is expected to debut in early 2015.

The official website for Ice-Bound is

Aaron A. Reed has shown projects at IndieCade, IGF, and the Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemakers Festival. His 2009 interactive fiction Blue Lacuna was named one of the top ten text adventures of all time by the IFDB, and he served as lead writer for the ambitious AI-driven storygame Prom Week, which garnered both IndieCade and IGF nominations in 2012. His experimental narrative collage-maker 18 Cadence was a Kirkus”Best Book App” of 2013 and an IGF Nuovo Honorable Mention.

Jacob Garbe is a writer and new media artist working with augmented reality and procedural narrative. He was the recipient of the 2010 International Aeon Award for short fiction, and was recently featured as an electronic literature artist in the Pathfinders: 25 years of Experimental Literary Art exhibit at the Modern Language Association. He is currently working with Storybricks exploring dynamic text generation for the upcoming MMO Everquest Next.

Save the Date – Cross-session Memory, Metanarrative and a Challenge to Endings

Save the Date is a real gem from the perspective of interactive digital narrative. This game puts the affordances of digital media to great use by demonstrating how procedurality and interactivity can extend narrative. At the same time, this work challenges long-standing conventions in both games and narrative.

So what does this game do? Save the Date reflects the player’s growing knowledge in consecutive replays though an evolving narrative. In addition, this work extends the notion of metanarrative in an important way and challenges the player to consider abandoning the game to reach a successful ending.

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