Posts Tagged Storytelling

iBooks and the Kindle app do a great job of ensuring that there’s always something new to read while you’re on the move. They work well in complementing the traditional physical book. There’s still room for more interactive and animated fare though, such as in the case of Black Jack – an app that declares itself the “World’s First Moving Novel.” Released in episodic chunks of new chapters every Monday and Friday, it’s an interesting new direction to take for the medium. We took the time to chat to its Emmy-winning author, A.R. Witham, to learn more.

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148Apps: Why not release the book at once rather than chapter by chapter?
A.R. Witham (ARW): It’s an old-school method of building suspense; Charles Dickens released A Christmas Carol in installments, and I thought that was an interesting way to tell a story that isn’t done much in the 21st century. Black Jack has a very vintage feel to the texture of the pages and animations… a vintage release schedule felt perfect for the story.

148Apps: What’s the reaction to the episodic content been like? Has it been as warmly received as hoped?
ARW: The response has been amazing. People love Jack, but for me, their enthusiastic reaction to the side-characters has been the most unexpected surprise. People love Django and Fuji and Valerian and the villains far more than I expected. I’ve gotten drawings of characters from fans, and that kind of reaction is something I really never anticipated.  

148Apps: What challenges have there been in converting the novel to a more interactive format? Has it affected how the novel has been written at all?
ARW: There were 3 Big Rules to building the Black Jack app: 1) The story had to be good enough to pack a whollop without the animations and effects. 2) None of the animations could interfere with the text; if they didn’t help the readers immerse themselves in the storytelling, they were cut. 3) The book had to feel completely unlike any reading experience anyone has ever had. Once I established those guidelines, it became a great puzzle to solve.

148Apps: Do you think this is the future for novels? Or is there still a place for the traditional format?
ARW: I pray traditional novels never die. We all have loved them too much to let them go away. If paper-and-binding is on the decline in favor of screen-reading, I’m okay with that, but a pure tale constructed only with words is the foundation of storytelling; it will always exist, even if it’s just an old man sitting at a campfire telling ghost stories. Digital formats such as the iPad offer a playground for artists to explore the edges of the map and that’s what we are doing with Black Jack. Once you read the first two chapters, you begin to realize there are incredible moments waiting for you. Nobody’s done a book like this before – that’s the fun part.

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148Apps: Do you think it’s a method that would work for all genres or does it particularly lend itself to fantasy/sci-fi?
ARW: Oh, I could see Divergent, Hunger Games, Neil Gaiman, or Harry Potter working very well with the Moving Novel format, but I think also think Raymond Chandler’s detective thrillers, Cormac McCarthy’s Southern Gothic style or Stephen King’s horror stories could all be a fun ride with a little emotional push at the right moments.

148apps: What’s next after Black Jack?
ARW: By day, I’m a Creative Director, and currently working on launching the brand-new CBS affiliate in Indianapolis in 2015, so that may take a bit of time. For Black Jack, I’m working with the next story in the series, tentatively titled “Red Rover.” And at night, I’m just reading new stories. It’s always fun to find something new.


Thanks to A.R. Witham for taking the time to answer our questions.

Black Jack: A Moving Novel is available now on the App Store for the iPad. It’s currently priced at $5.99 for the full novel, with the first two chapters available for free.


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Yeti’s Parole Officer Review

Yeti’s Parole Officer Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Yeti's Parole Officer proves that looks aren't everything in this entertaining, if plain, piece of interactive fiction.

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Heavy Metal Thunder Review

Heavy Metal Thunder Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
It'll tax you given its difficulty level, but Heavy Metal Thunder is an intriguing adventure gamebook.

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Steller, by Mombo Labs, is a story sharing app that turns your photos into a cohesive tale of your life and adventures – and the app has recently received a big update.

Now users can search for stories using keywords and hashtags, as well as make comments and @mention their friends. The interface has been updated to allow you to Pinch and zoom, and now includes a new Explore section and Most Viewed stories category. For extra privacy, you can also block users from viewing your profile and stories.

You can download Steller for free on the App Store.

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Yarnee Review

Yarnee Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Convenient and quick to use, Yarnee enables you to create stories from your social networking entries.

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Simogo’s latest project, The Sailor’s Dream, was just announced earlier today.

The game tells a non-linear story without the machinations of puzzles to get in the way. Players will explore the story at their own pace accompanied by a soundtrack created by Jonathan Eng, whose other work includes Simogo’s own Year Walk and DEVICE 6. Simogo isn’t sharing many details as they want elements of the game to be surprising for their players, but we do know that Jonas Tarestad, the writer for both previous titles, is also working on the story.

You can look forward to The Sailor’s Dream releasing in late 2014.

source: Simogo

Shuffle as Fast As You Can for The Walking Dead: Season Two – Chapter 4: Amid the Ruins

Posted by on July 24th, 2014
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

The wildly popular The Walking Dead: Season Two‘s new chapter, Amid the Ruins, sees a return to Clementine’s story about a young girl orphaned in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Who will she save? How will she evolve as a character? It is all up to you as every choice you make changes Clementine’s fate.

This is the fourth chapter that Telltale Games has released for Season 2. Users will be able to buy the chapter alone as an in-app purchase, or Save 25% by purchasing the Multi-Pack [Episodes 2-5 bundle] via in-app in the ‘Episodes’ menu.

Storehouse Review

Storehouse Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Making it simple for anyone to create their own image based story, Storehouse is a pleasant app to create with and explore.

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hm1Haunting Melissa is one of the App Store’s spookiest offerings, and yet there’s also a surprising amount of interesting technology behind it. For the unfamiliar it’s essentially an episodic ghost story about a young girl who has disappeared shortly after claiming some sort of apparition had appeared in her home. But it’s also more than that: updates don’t appear on a regular schedule, episode length can vary greatly, and many episodes will actually change slightly (different camera angles, new background details, etc) when viewed multiple times.

Neal Edelstein on the set of Haunting Melissa - Image Credit: Shaun Robinson via IMDb

Neal Edelstein on the set of Haunting Melissa – Image Credit: Shaun Robinson via IMDb

Neal Edelstein (Haunting Melissa‘s director) and the rest of the team wanted to create a new way to tell stories right from the beginning. While it’s a passive and linear experience overall, those dynamic story elements I’ve mentioned – along with the “mystery schedule” and a clever use of push notifications – really set it apart from other traditional stories. And it’s not finished evolving, either. Edelstein has been keeping an eye on the ever-changing state of iOS and adjusting the app accordingly by jumping on iOS 7 features such as automatic background downloads. He’s been considering other ways to help spread the story around as well; Facebook and other forms of social media are currently being considered.

User feedback has also been instrumental in helping him decide what to do with a sequel. Yes, that’s right, there’s going to be a sequel that should be coming out sometime this fall. We don’t have any more details than that at the moment, unfortunately, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for. What’s more, the technology behind Haunting Melissa has attracted the attention of other filmmakers and talent (including some big names in the industry that aren’t being divulged just yet). Edelstein and co. are already working on other stories that are separate from Haunting Melissa but use the same software and structure, and there’s little doubt that even more projects will be popping up in the future. Not just horror-themed work, either. Comedies, thrillers, sports – pretty much anything is fair game.

hm4These are exciting prospects, and it’s easy to see why other filmmakers would want to jump on board. I mean this is essentially a system that would let them have complete and total control over their work. No studio involvement whatsoever. Of course only time will tell how this all pans out, but the possibilities and the technology behind it are incredibly exciting! In the mean time you can check out Haunting Melissa now and see it all for yourself.

Flowmo Review

Flowmo Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
More a visual short story of sorts than a conventional game, that doesn't stop Flowmo being quite special.

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Sorcery! 2 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Building upon the success of its predecessor, Sorcery! 2 is a gripping and well told story of intrigue and adventure, amongst some great game features.

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The Lost Song – Living Stories Review

The Lost Song – Living Stories Review

The Lost Song - Living Stories is a unique musical storybook with interactions and wonderful narration.

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Bramble Berry Tales – The Story of Kalkalih Review

Bramble Berry Tales – The Story of Kalkalih Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
This story within a story includes a traditional Squamish tale. A truly memorable experience.

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Fighting Fantasy: The Forest Of Doom Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Continuing the trend of great adventure game book conversions, The Forest of Doom is a highly enjoyable title.

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Story Review

Story Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Perhaps too simple for the experienced iOS user, Story is ideal for those novices who want to share their memories and photos with others via email or Facebook.

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Underground Kingdom Review

Underground Kingdom Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Interactive fiction from the 1970s that is just as strong as it was before.

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Coin & Flour Alpha Issue Review

Coin & Flour Alpha Issue Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
The interface lets it down but Coin & Flour tells the start of an interesting story of a mismatched couple.

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HipGeo has already proven itself as a great travel blogging app since its launch earlier this year. The latest update should cement that even further.

The update provides full video capability as well as the ability to convert all the photos, video and text uploaded to the service into virtual ‘storytelling journals’ that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as shared with the HipGeo community and via email. Consolidated, it should prove a great tool for avid travellers.

The app groups together photos, videos and texts into a location, so it’s simple to browse what’s going on and where as part of a coherent album. A Trip Player and Day Map ensures that movements are clearly shown between the photos, videos and writing, making it easy for viewers to catch up on the traveller’s progress.

Alongside the ability to create such journals offline, before uploading when inside a Wi-Fi zone, HipGeo is a great all-rounder for those who want to blog their travels.

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The Walking Dead: The Game – Episode One Review

The Walking Dead: The Game – Episode One Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
A fantastic slice of interactive fiction based in The Walking Dead universe.

Read The Full Review »

Storytelling is a great way of teaching kids things about other cultures, while still making them feel as if they’re having fun rather than just learning stuff. The Magnificent Travelling Palace is one such app that both educates and entertains.

The app follows a magical adventure story through the eyes of four children. Throughout the tale, the book embraces the splendour of Indian culture while remaining fun for kids. It comes with a recipe for an Indian dessert as well as interactive elements allowing kids to join in with the storytelling experience.

Visually, children can enjoy the 26 3D computer illustrations and animations, while their ears will enjoy the delightful musical score.

Created by a mother who knows what it’s like, The Magnificent Travelling Palace should prove a fun yet educational app for every keen young reader.

The Magnificent Travelling Palace is out now for the iPad and priced at $1.99.

Get the app here.

We’ve all seen plenty of cute interactive books on the App Store. However, Collin’s Journey Through Cancer is an especially touching one to see.

As the name suggests, it’s all about a young boy called Collin who is currently battling that evil disease, cancer. Fortunately, he has great and supportive parents looking out for him.

The story is all done from the child’s perspective with childlike drawings illustrating the way and a child’s voice narrating the action.

It won’t be the longest read, even for young readers, but it’s a touching tale. Crucially, it has the potential to be an ideal app to use with the family for those unfortunate enough to be hit with this cruel disease. Books like these are a great way to provoke discussion with younger members of the family.

Collin’s Journey Through Cancer is free to download so why not give it a read today? It’s out now for the iPad only.

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The potential benefits that iOS devices can present to toddlers and children cannot be stressed enough. Touch based technology lends itself perfectly to children making their way in this technological world. In the case of The Fairy Tale, it combines traditional storytelling elements with the fun of using an iOS device too.

The app sets out to make reading that bit more enjoyable to youngsters by allowing them to create their own tale. Users can create characters and objects that respond to the touch by either moving or making a noise. As well as that illustrations can be moved, expanded, reduced or rotated with a simple touch.

It all makes for an experience that will feel more realistic to a young child than simply reading stagnant pages of texts and looking at pictures. They can finally interact with the tale.

Once a story has been created, users can then share their creations with others and they can store them on a virtual bookshelf for future reference.

The Fairy Tale is a free app with in-app purchases available for Jack and the Beanstalk and Aladdin and The Magic Lamp priced at $2.99 each.

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