Exceptional Digital Storytelling Presentation – Ben Brzowski

     For my example of digital storytelling I would like to draw everyone’s attention to what I feel may be one of the next phases of evolution of storytelling. Especially in our digital world, videogames are becoming an ever-greater force in the world of portraying narratives. Those games are gradually becoming more advanced and complex, and the trend of audience participation of interaction in the creation of the story is spreading into them as well. Nevermind is a game by Erin Reynolds and Flying Mollusk. It integrates biofeedback, or bodily reactions such as heart rate, breathing patterns, and even sweating as inputs in the evolution of the game world. In this wondrously interesting game, the world literally changes around you as you experience it, and will reflect your own reactions


Within Nevermind the player assumes the role of a “neuralprober”, or a paid employee of some unnamed psychiatric care service designed to dissect and rectify psychological problems in their customers by projecting the minds of trained individuals into the subconscious of the patient. While this is an interesting narrative approach in and of itself, I find it even more intriguing that Ms. Reynolds and Flying Mollusk have expressed an interest in using the game (or its model) to create therapeutic applications for individuals suffering from some psychiatric illnesses in real life.

Analyzed solely as a videogame, Nevermind is a perplexing cross between adventure and puzzle styles and horror, as things can take a very dark turn if you are stressed out yourself. It is also intended to be played using VR (virtual reality) systems, further pushing its impression as an immersive experience. Nevermind is full of pop culture and clear, recognizable symbolism and connotation. At any given point you are very acutely aware (at least as a member of western culture) of what is going on and what it could mean. It takes these typical symbols and presents them in a way that is molded by the biofeedback received from the player: a truly startling concept.

I chose to present this particular piece of digital storytelling for many reasons, not least of which is my love for videogames and my interest in writing for them. It serves as a powerful example of what we can do to challenge the notions of “normal” and continue to evolve our techniques of sharing stories.



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