New Media Startup Launches First Flash Storygame: Part Fiction, Part Game

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City of IF, the inventor of Internet “storygaming,” today launched the first storygame viewable in Macromedia Flash. Storygaming is a unique combination of storytelling and computer games, in which players cooperatively roleplay characters in a story guided by a human author.

City of IF, a Silicon Valley Internet startup, today announced the release of “The Machine’s Daughter,” a Flash-based storygame played weekly and free of charge. “The Machine’s Daughter” tells the story of a human girl forced to find her identity in a world populated by machines.

Storygaming is a new form of Web storytelling pioneered by City of IF in early 2005. 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.

City of IF founder and CEO Mark Keavney said that City of IF decided to create “The Machine’s Daughter” in Flash rather than HTML in order to make greater use of graphics and animation. “Flash is the next step in the development of this new art form. We expect that the additional visuals will not only make a richer experience, but will also attract a larger audience, which will make the interaction richer as well.”

More than 15,000 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 over 2000 visits every day from players of the 60 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. “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 fantasy novella that is the result of the first City of IF storygame and a prequel to “The Machine’s Daughter.” The book is for sale at http://www.cityofif.com for $4.95 and at Amazon.com and other bookstores.

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