Netflix introduces “interactive storytelling”

As an ex-child old enough to remember Captain Power and “interactive TV” in the 80’s, I’m intrigued that Netflix is introducing branching, Choose Your Own Adventure-style storytelling:

So do kids really want this kind of more lean-forward experience? No one seems sure:

We’ve done extensive research and talked to lots of kids and parents, collecting qualitative data to better understand if this is something viewers will like. While we’ve gotten positive feedback (for example, parents like the fact their child has the ability to make decisions and take a seat in the director’s chair, if you will), we’re eager to learn how our members will engage with the experience. Which choices or storylines will be the most popular? Will the mean bears or the friendly bears be more popular? Are members more compelled to rewatch and uncover all of the different storylines?

They say that old age is a second childhood, so this dovetails nicely with my (otherwise super proper, Midwestern Catholic) dad now yelling profanity at Trump on MSNBC. 😝

On a similar note, the Choose Your Own Adventures books haven’t been updated in nearly 20 years (!), but they’re being reissued with maps of the hidden structures in each book:

Nick Montfort, a poet and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies interactive fiction, has a habit of asking people what they know about “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. “They often say, ‘You have two choices after every page,’” he says. “That’s not true. Sometimes you have one choice. Sometimes you have more than two. When you show the maps, you can see that these books don’t look exactly the same.”


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