Interactive fiction, otherwise known as gamebooks or “choose your own path” stories, is a genre of narrative games which leads students through a branching story or scenario. The choices students make in the game directly influence their future choices and the story outcomes.
Interactive fiction falls under the umbrella of digital game-based learning (DGBL), a pedagogical approach that uses games to achieve specific learning outcomes (Plass et al., 2015). DGBL engages students in purposeful play by using digital tools and virtual environments where students can experiment and reflect. Higher-order thinking skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving can be fostered in well-constructed educational games (Ahmad et al., 2021).
If you are interested in creating your own digital games, interactive fiction is a good place to start because of its versality and low technological requirements. If you would like to collaborate with Elkana Center colleagues on projects related to game-based learning or interactive fiction, contact us at email@example.com.
Examples and Resources
The following resources have been developed to support members of the teaching and learning community who are interested in incorporating digital interactive fiction into their own courses. While the materials focus on interactive fiction within the humanities, they can also apply to a wide range of disciplines at CEU.
- Short Guide: Developing Interactive Fiction for the University Humanities Classroom
Written by Kaitlin Lucas, Dr Irene Lubbe, Juan Manuel Rubio Arévalo, and Flora Ghazaryan
This short guide describes the gamebook development process, including the materials, tools, and approximate time needed. It also provides planning worksheets and further resources.
- Game: The Richest and Most Favoured Rayahs of the Sultan: The Case of the Düzoğlus
Written by Flora Ghazaryan, Comparative History (created in Twine, SugarCube 2.36.1)
In the study of Ottoman governance, one rarely sees research on the role of non-Muslim subjects. This gamebook fills such a gap. The Düzoğlu family, stand as representatives of the non-Muslim elite who, due to their political status, became an inseparable part of the imperial governance. The game focuses on a key event, the 1819 execution, that opens discourse on political and religious levels. The aim of the game is to teach its players about the complexity of archival narrative material, and its story is reconstructed using various sources that mostly contradict each other not only in details but also in grand narratives.
- Game: The Four Cities: A Story of Outremer in the 12th Century
Written by Juan Manuel Rubio Arévalo, Medieval Studies (created in Twine, Harlowe 3.3.5)
The crusades are too often depicted in the media as a Manichean battle between two clearly defined sides. The game’s message questions this narrative and focuses on the internal divisions and the inter-religious alliances that all rulers in the Holy Land had to engage in to boost their own interests. For this, the period between 1130-1148 was chosen since it saw constant infighting among crusaders and Muslim rulers. It is a highly dynamic period in terms of inter-religious alliances, with the failure of the Second Crusade as its climax. With its four paths, the full game could be played in groups of four where each student follows a different path early in the game.
These materials were created as part of the project “Incorporating Interactive Fiction in the Humanities and Liberal Arts Classroom through Digital ‘Choose Your Own Path’ Gamebooks , funded through the AMICAL Small Grants program in 2022-2023. Learn more about the project here.