Reflective Rereading and the SimCity Effect in Interactive Stories

  • Alex Mitchell
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9445)


Reflective rereading in print literature involves a critical or meditative re-examination of a work for deeper meanings. In this paper I argue that, in interactive stories, reflective rereading can involve examining the surface of an interactive work with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how the underlying computational system functions, and how this internal structure relates to the surface experience of the work as a story. I explore this through close readings of four interactive stories: The Walking Dead (Season 1), Façade, Prom Week, and Blood and Laurels. Through this analysis, I make connections between this form of reflective rereading and Wardrip-Fruin’s “SimCity Effect”, suggesting a correspondence between works that afford reflective rereading and those that exhibit the SimCity effect. Further, I suggest that the abstractions used to represent the underlying system will impact whether or not an interactive story affords reflective rereading.


Interactive storytelling Reflective rereading SimCity effect Close readings 



This work is funded under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore grant “Authoring Paradigms and Representation in Interactive Storytelling Tools”.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communications and New MediaNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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