Free MIT Course in Interactive Fiction

MIT OpenCourseWare offers a freely downloadable open course on interactive fiction here. The premium version was taught in 2004: “Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice,” with Dr. Kurt Fendt.

The course blurb:

This course explores the properties of non-linear, multi-linear, and interactive forms of narratives as they have evolved from print to digital media. Works covered in this course range from the Talmud, classics of non-linear novels, experimental literature, early sound and film experiments to recent multi-linear and interactive films and games. The study of the structural properties of narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time, space, and of storyline is complemented by theoretical texts about authorship/readership, plot/story, properties of digital media and hypertext. Questions that will be addressed in this course include: How can we define ‘non-linearity/multi-linearity’, ‘interactivity’, ‘narrative’. To what extend are these aspects determined by the text, the reader, the digital format? What kinds of narratives are especially suited for a nonlinear/ interactive format? Are there stories that can only be told in a digital format? What can we learn from early non-digital examples of non-linear and interactive story telling?


There’s another one, here. “Interactive and Non-Linear Narrative: Theory and Practice,” with Prof. Beth Coleman.

This course covers techniques of creating narratives that take advantage of the flexibility of form offered by the computer. The course studies the structural properties of book-based narratives that experiment with digression, multiple points of view, disruptions of time and of storyline. The class analyzes the structure and evaluates the literary qualities of computer-based narratives including hypertexts, adventure games, and classic artificial intelligence programs like Eliza. With this base, students use authoring systems to model a variety of narrative techniques and to create their own fictions. Knowledge of programming is helpful but not necessary.

Published in: on September 15, 2010 at 10:43 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’ve had at this course, and I can’t say you can really call it one. What it is is detritus from a course. You get:

    A syllabus
    An assignment list
    A reading list
    Links to student projects.

    –No lecture notes. Imagine you showed up for the first day of class and got all the handouts: this is what MIT provides.

    So, something of a disappointment. The reading list is nice. If you’re in to IF, probably you’ve read much of it, and the rest will take some work to hunt down.

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