Whatever Happened To...

Whatever Happened To...
A Conversation with Chris Crawford

Max Steele | 27 Sep 2005 08:00
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I asked him why it was called the Dragon Speech. "Throughout the lecture I used the rhetorical device of the Dragon as the artistic ideal, with me as Don Quixote - the fool who defies all industry logic and imposes his own reality."

"I concluded the lecture speaking as Don Quixote. 'All right, I am leaving the industry. And by leaving the industry I can see the Dragon. I can see him now. Yes, yes, you frighten me, Dragon. You hurt me! I can feel your claws ripping through my soul.' I almost screamed the words out. It really scared the audience. I pulled out my sword - a real, leaf-bladed sword - held it up, and shouted 'Come Dragon, I shall fight you! CHARGE!' And went galloping down the lecture hall, ran right out of the door, and never came back. That was how I announced my departure from the games industry."

If Crawford's departure was larger than life, his post-departure ambitions were even larger. Crawford's goal was to create a new art form: Interactive storytelling. "I thought it would take me eighteen months, maybe two years, to put together interactive storytelling. I've been working on this for eleven, or twelve years now."

What exactly is interactive storytelling? "Games about people instead of about things," explained Crawford. "It's very difficult to understand. It's just like the problem they had with the cinema - it took them about fifteen years to figure out what cinema really is. Around the turn of the century, the thought was that cinema was like a play with the camera sitting where the audience sits. That's where we are with interactive storytelling - people can't conceive of it."

The closest anyone has come, said Crawford, is an interactive story called <a href="http://www.interactivestory.net/" target="_blank" title="Fa

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