New Form of Internet Fiction is Part Story, Part Game

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Internet startup City of IF today launched a web site dedicated to Â?storygamingÂ? Â? a new form of storytelling over the Web. Storygaming is a unique combination of storytelling and computer games in which players cooperatively play characters in a story guided by a human author.

City of IF, a Silicon Valley-based Internet startup, today announced the launch of its web site dedicated to “storygaming” – a new form of storytelling over the Web.

Through a unique mixture of forums, voting, and chat, storygaming allows players to cooperatively play characters in a story guided by a human author. The experience provides the interest of a great story with the added excitement and participation of a game.

“This is a new art form that wasn’t possible before the Internet,” said City of IF founder and CEO Mark Keavney. “This kind of interactive storytelling could always happen in small groups, but until recently there was no way for a mass audience to participate in a story.”

More than 13,000 players across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia have joined http://www.cityofif.com or City of IF’s previous site, http://www.interfable.net. The two web sites receive an average of 50,000 visits every month from players of the 50 active storygames.

Keavney, who received a PhD in Psychology from Stanford University, undertook an extensive study of the psychology of games, storytelling, and Internet communities before coming up with the idea of storygaming in 2001. “I wanted to find an activity that combined the best elements of linear stories, computer games, and online communities like MMORPGs. In storygaming, I discovered a storytelling technique that was not only fun, creative, and easy to do, but that provided a way for people to share stories and connect meaningfully.”

Storygaming appeals both to gamers looking for more dramatic depth and readers eager to “step inside” their favorite stories. Storygaming’s emphasis on creative collaboration also attracts those seeking a more cooperative social experience than is found in many online games.

City of IF recently published “The Archer’s Flight,” a softcover fantasy novella based on the first City of IF storygame. The book is for sale at http://www.cityofif.com for $5.95 and at Amazon.com and other bookstores.

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Mark Keavney
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