I Like Reading (Or: Caveating The Last Blog)
Updated: Aug 7
The other day I wrote about two well-formatted sides of A4 being an optimal amount of information for a fun experience of a piece of interactive theatre.
I want to caveat that, because I Like Reading.
That is to say, I enjoy entering a world and being given lots of new information to digest. It’s something I’m good at, and have been trained for.
I do think it generally ought to be more clearly signposted as part of the guest experience. There are plenty of people who don’t share my enthusiasm. It’s one of the reason for Come Bargain’s well-received craft table Offerings station.
I also think, most of the time, in the interests of allegedly being clear, text in interactive theatre is made counterproductively dry.
I’m not asking for everything to be Tolkein-esque reams of description. But a joy of rules-light game systems is that the feeling drips off everything.
Bureaucratic bulletpoints, while useful for executive summaries, are generally rather unfeeling. That might be appropriate diegetically (e.g. you’re in an office, an HQ), and allows good in-world filing to aid audience navigation.
Rather than an instruction manual going step-by-step through how to make a phone call through an operator, why not the frustrated hand-written memo from a secretary?
1. Pick up the receiver.
2. Dial the number.
3. WAIT FOR THE OPERATOR TO ANSWER YOU.
4. Tell them who you want to speak to.
5. Try again.
6. Don’t swear at the operator for being slow.
7. THEN come and ask for help.
Same information, different feeling. And, I suspect, easier to remember, because suddenly it’s telling a story.