IM: Kentucky Route Zero – My First Thought on Integrated Media
This weeks reading was a bit light on theory, and more outlines the fundamentals of a few forms of narrative and cinema.
Kentucky Route Zero is a “videogame”, if you had to categorize it. It’s also an interactive, visual novel.
At it’s base, it’s a point and click adventure, but there’s no puzzles or challenge to it. You play as a man named Conway, who is trying to deliver a package somewhere along Route Zero. Right from the get go, you get a choice to name your dog. It fundamentally does nothing to the story, but it is the first of many dialogue options that define who Conway is in your story. You are given a map, which you can click on to drive to a certain location, but only a few of these are actual places you can walk around in. The rest of them are either just text describing the scene on the map, or a small text adventure still on the map screen. In fact, I remember Conway’s experience at the gas station, which was only text, than some of the designed locations. I made him put his hand in a weird, algae-filled fishtank for too long and he passed out.
I don’t feel like I’m playing a game, it’s more like reading a novel, but saying that makes me think of it as an interactive experience. I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s the perfect hybrid between novel and interactivity. It blends novel, artwork and videogame together. When we first started Integrated Media, KRZ was the first thing I thought of. It came out at the start of 2013, and it’s split into 5 acts, but they’ve only released 2 so far. Act 2 came out in May last year so it’s been a while since I’ve played it. Hopefully Act 3 will pop up soon.
Here’s the link to the developers, Cardboard Computer.