Narrative structure and space within a text based game

I recently got to finishing the tutorial room of my text based adventure. Following that, I coded a hallway followed by an elevator immediately at the exit of the tutorial room – where the elevator would lead to I wasn’t sure, so I went back to the drawing board.

After rationalizing possible circumstances as to why the player starts in a room with no context as to what’s going on and how the player got there, I realized that the answer was not to look for a narrative structure on it’s own, or a contextual space – but rather a :

While sitting on the GO Bus, I watched as the people got onto the bus and took their seats. The GO Bus is a little different than the regular city transit (ttc) – the layout of the seats has it so that everyone is facing forwards, towards the back of the seat in front of them. This makes it so that we don’t really pay attention to others when we get onto a bus, and proceed to inhabit our own sense of space. However – it is the GO Bus, it’s a shared space which we’re all experiencing at a certain place at a certain time.  Despite it all, everyone perceives their own space on the bus different: Some are fidgety, nervous, uncomfortable taking the bus for the first time. Some feel safe enough within their space to fall asleep and take a nap. And some feel safe, comfortable, and even a bit of entitlement as they take out their laptops to watch the latest Criminal Minds episode. In all, everyone exhibits their own sense of their personal space, yet as Scott Snibe demonstrated in his piece Boundary Functions, personal space is defined by others and changes without our control.

Similarly, with my text based game – the medium of text is like the vehicle which is driving the users through the narrative. And like the bus, you’ll know where it’s going and how its getting there once you’ve gotten on it for the first time. However unlike the bus analogy , only 1 passenger can go on the ride at a time, however I have control of how and what they’re able to see as they’re going for the ride.
And so within my text based game, I should perceive the narrative and space within the game as 1 thing.

With this mindset, I’ve come to realize that my text based game does not need to follow a standard start-to-finish narrative, neither does it need to follow the escape-the-room or explore-the-landscape narratives that traditional text based games followed.

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