by Dov Kornits

A new choose-your-own-adventure horror-suspense experience allows the audience to decide whether or not the main character, Jed, hooks up with fellow inmates, takes his medication, or allows alternate personalities to delve into the depths of his subconscious.

We have seen attempts at such interactive entertainment before, to little or no success, with games based on LaserDisc or VHS. However, this forced us to engage with clunky interfaces, low production values, and limited options. Added to that, we have seen a phenomenon known as Grand Theft Auto, along with Hollywood’s fascination for nonlinear storytelling, resulting in a string of poor video games based on movies, and vice versa.

Netflix and HBO on Board

HBO logo by HBO (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

As technology has evolved, however, and audiences are seeing more advanced means of interacting with entertainment, we are being exposed to some intriguing experiments. Now some of the biggest players in TV and film are on board. Netflix’s interactive children’s program, Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale, and HBO’s upcoming Mosaic, a Steven Soderbergh film with Garrett Hedlund and Sharon Stone, are changing the game. The latter will be viewed via an interactive app revolving around the experience of the audience.

Chatterbox, which was produced by media-tech firm Eko and backed by experimental entertainment company Adaptive Studios, is more of an independent project than the previous mainstream examples. Their creators, however, have some credibility to their name: they have previously worked in the field of interactive entertainment, with Virtual Reality, the Ron Howard-produced social media murder mystery under their belts.

Interactvity is the Past, Present and Future

Facebook like-hang-tag by Hamazasp (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

Interactivity has been the order of the day in technology for quite some time. It’s the basis of the internet, after all, and we’ve seen it blossom through the advent of social media. Many users are just happy to like and comment on their friend’s cat photos, while others are looking for something else, such as education or entertainment.

Interactive games on the web are proving to be increasingly popular. Gaming has also long dominated when it comes to interactive entertainment, especially through online casinos, such as, while playing poker, baccarat, and the like. Whether in demo or real mode, users can chat with fellow players as they mull their next move as if they were in a real casino. This is also the case in fantasy games such as Planet Arkadia and Salem, where interactivity adds a real-life, real-time layer to the otherwise extravagant gaming experience.

A huge number of real-life friendships have been forged through these features, and whether the advent of interactivity in video will lead to a similar vogue remains to be seen.


Leave a Reply