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Voyage of Discovery (Part One)

The evolution of storytelling in VR.

Story maven Robert McKee has observed: "A culture cannot evolve without honest and powerful storytelling." Indeed, from prehistoric times until the present day, storytelling has been humanity's bridge of understanding and aspiration. Yet storytelling itself is evolving. In his seminal screenwriting tome, STORY, McKee describes classical story design as "a story built around an active protagonist who struggles against primarily external forces of antagonism to pursue his or her desires, through continuous time, within a consistent and causally connected fictional reality, to a closed ending of absolute, irreversible change." Heady stuff, and indeed evident in stories ranging from Homer's “Odyssey” to Disney's Zootopia.

McKee also notes more essentially: "Story is a metaphor for life." Life, as we know, is a voyage of discovery in which we are active participants rather than passive spectators. We make our way and learn from experience (or don't, in the case of certain tweeting presidents). Virtual reality, occasionally maligned by the old guard for its lack of "true" storytelling, is actually the perfect medium in which to realize story as a metaphor for life.

In virtual reality, storytelling becomes story discovering.

That's a game-changing paradigm shift (literally and figuratively), so we'll let that concept sit before unpacking it in subsequent posts to this blog.

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at www.kevingeiger.com and he can be reached at holler@kevingeiger.com.

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