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Nicholas Fortugno (designer)
Aya Karpinska (thesis advisor)
Chris Prentice (thesis advisor)


May 23 2018


Interactive narrative has seen both critical and commercial success in media ranging from digital games to immersive theatre. In this thesis, I analyze some of the rhetorical techniques that have worked in these forms, specifically related to the computing concept of state, the way that systems can store and track actions and changes. State in interactive narrative work creates possibilities for personalized experience, exploration, and dynamic narrative content though techniques such as “seamless” invisible technologies and embodied interactions. To this end, I conceived of and prototyped Janus, a sci-fi escape room that uses the internet of things (IoT) to track player state. As scavengers on a derelict spacecraft, players engage in a multi-session interactive mystery and uncover a story of corporate espionage, labor activism and betrayal. The features of Janus serve as a case study to understand how these state-based rhetorical techniques can be applied to create more compelling narratives.



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