Children of the ’80s and ’90s were able to thumb their way through choose your own adventure books, but kids these days will never understand the frustration of losing their spot and having to start all over again because technology is now firmly on their side. June 20th marked the launch of Netflix’s first foray into interactive storytelling with Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale.
The interactive episode of Puss in Boots is simple — every few minutes, the narrator and Puss (with his cute belt that distracts from the fact that he is almost completely naked) consider a choice that the dashing Puss can make. Should he head into battle like the swashbuckler he is, or should he avoid conflict? Kids (or adults because there’s no shame in enjoying Puss in Boots) can simply tap on one of two choices (on a tablet) before moving ahead. If they take too long, Netflix chooses for them. You can also use a smart TV remote, or a game console controller to make your choices, although the latter didn’t work for me.
All in all, it’s a simplified version of the branching storytelling that gamers have been enjoying through Telltale games, which have given us fresh looks at Batman, Game of Thrones and especially The Walking Dead for the last few years. It may be simple and not too deep, but this is Netflix’s first attempt at interactive storytelling and more stories are coming. Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile is launching on July 14th and Stretch Armstrong will have an interactive episode in 2018, which means there’s enough time for Netflix to refine the tech and for adults to push for their own interactive shows.
Who doesn’t think an interactive episode of Wet Hot American Summer, Arrested Development (remember the 3D episode?) or even Stranger Things would seem like a lot of fun. Choose your own adventure stories would be tough to pull off with creators that want total control over their stories, but for kids programming and comedies, this could be the next big thing amongst streaming platforms vying for all the eyeballs.
(Via Huffington Post)