A Neo-Aristotelian Theory of Interactive Drama

Michael Mateas

This Neo-Aristotelian theory borrows from Laurel’s treatment of Aristotle in an interactive context (Laurel 1986, Laurel 1991), but extends it by situating user agency within the model; the new model provides specific design guidelines for maximizing user agency. First I will briefly describe what I mean by interactive drama, and how drama differs from narrative. Then I will briefly describe Murray’s (Murray 1998) three categories for analyzing interactive story experiences. For our purposes, agency will be the most important of these three categories. Next I will describe Aristotle’s theory of drama and the integration of user agency into this theory. Finally I will draw some design and technology guidelines from the new theory.

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