Notes on Storytelling. What VR reveals about yourself
The more we let linear story telling and clearly defined storylines behind us and start to embrace non-linear storytelling, the story starts to become more and more about the person that experiences the story than about the characters of the story. The characters of the story become more like a midwife to reveal the truth about the person experiencing the story. Because when the player or Eikonaut of a video game or VR experience is asked to participate with hir decisions in the story and thereby changes the story there is a lot to be revealed about you, when you make your decisions.
In a way it seems we are arriving back at the beginnings of games. When we look at the origin and history of games like ordinary card games, playing with dice, game board – they all seem to derive from divination systems. Systems that where indented to predict you as a person and your future. There is an element of chance in those systems combined with your involvement that they open up for interpretations about you. When you played with them they mirrored back who you were as a person and what your future might look like. That is due to the interactivity of games, the element of likelihood and chance. Your choices are imprinted into the development of the gameplay, it mirrors you as a person and so they became these tools in esoteric for synchronicities and predicting the future, present and past. They predict you as a person. Tarot was as much as a card game as it was and is a divination tool. The Chinese Go was a tool for divination. And like everything that is intended to be thrown on the ground a tool of geomancy – a dice is the simplest tool for that. Also chess might stem form a Chinese method of divination that uses astrology and the different actors on the board symbolized star constellations. These games developed further and are now purely recreational games. Yet I think there is something about divination that should not be tossed away – not so much that they actually predict the future but that our choices predict our character. There lies a psychological truth in this. Whether the developers of these ancient tools thought the same isn’t really important. But the thought remains true – choice reveals character. And with interactive games and VR experiences we incorporate more and more of these elements into our modern versions of games. The eikonauts and players choices reveal hir. When you are stepping into a VR experience, it is not so much telling you about a specific person or event, it is mirroring back to you who you are due to the choices you make. This changes radically the linear narrative of literature and film and opens it up to something that can become even transcendent in a way. And as storytellers and game designers we are really just starting what it means when we incorporate psychological truths above the truth of imagined characters. And looking back to ancient ways of combining play and truth might give helpful direction and guidance.