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E3 2015 Indie Innovation, Curiouser and Curiouser! Storytelling Through a Real Book

Posted Jun 20, 2015
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A lot of independent developers have been taking the reigns and releasing some very interesting games out there. And while some seem to follow the tried and true gameplay mechanics, some break away from that path in very unique ways. One of the most standout games at E3 was also the least traditional of them all, Curiouser and Curiouser!

Curiouser and Curiouser! Telling stories through the PC with the use of an actual custom designed book as a means to control the game.

Walking up to the booth for this game you instantly become a little curious, it’s in the name right (and if you know where the phrase is from, you can guess at the content of the game)? But really, it’s the furthest from what you’d expect out of a lot of the entries there. A book lies on the table, beckoning you to open it to explore the world within. And of course, being that this is E3 and not a Lewis Carroll convention, inside contains some very well designed pop-up artwork from Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice based on the original artwork, not the Disney artwork. And even curiouser? That pop-up story is the very means by which you interact with the game.

The game itself was created by Martzi Campos and Yuting Su while part of the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media and Games graduate program. The interactive pop-up book uses a collection of sensors that have been cannibalized from electronic greeting cards that enable you to use the book as a controller. Light sensors, pressure sensors and buttons are interpreted by an arduino to help Alice along her journey.

Curiously, the interacting on such a physical level, even with such a story, is very satisfying. It’s fun figuring out what to interact with and playing with the book. The great thing is that such interactive storytelling has a lot of potential. Just imagine where this genre can go from here, not only using pop-up books for children’s stories, but also using other types of components to keep even more finicky and critical gamers.

What has been created here is a phenomenal example of the kind of creativity and innovation can be seen in the indie gaming scene. Despite how many will surely look upon this game, it was truly fascinating. I’m excited to see what they have in store for us in the future.

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