Storygameness: Understanding Repeat Experience and the Desire for Closure in Storygames


Repeat play is often seen as key to the experience of interactive stories such as storygames. This is arguably quite different from repeat experience of non-interactive stories. While work has been done to investigate motivations for repeat experiences of storygames, the impact of the relationship between the narrative and the playable system on repeat experience is underexplored. In this paper we examine this question through close readings of two storygames that encourage repeat play: Bandersnatch and Cultist Simulator. Observations suggest that as players experience a storygame, they shift focus between the narrative and the playable system. This shift impacts both the type of closure experienced and the desire to replay, and suggests the degree to which the player treats a work as a storygame, or its storygameness, is not an inherent property of the work, but instead is an experiential property that can change over the course of a traversal.