What games can learn from experimental theater

In this very interesting article Nick Horwitz expresses how seeing an experimental music theatre production made him realize what games could learn from it:

I didn’t realize what I want from video games until I saw experimental theater.

The first time I attended Sleep No More I realized that I had found exactly what I had always wanted video games to become, but couldn’t quite articulate until I experienced it. The show, an immersive theater performance which turns the audience into ghostly voyeurs stuck in the middle of a noir-tinged retelling of Macbeth, is a masterpiece of environmental storytelling.

In the three hours spent freely exploring the seemingly endless rooms that make up Sleep No More’s “stage,” you are invited to open drawers and cabinets, read through letters and notes, and engross yourself in a surreal, yet thoroughly realized world. And while performers tell the main narrative through a series of danced and pantomimed vignettes, oftentimes the richest stories can be found by examining a scrap of paper, finding a stray piece of jewelry or simply observing how furniture has been arranged in a grimy foyer.

The agency given to the audience — and the trust placed in them to put the puzzle pieces together — helped me put form to something that I felt games were completely capable of doing, yet rarely took full advantage of. And when they did (BioShock comes to mind as a prime example) these moments often were overshadowed by combat and puzzle solving. Sleep No More made me realize that I wanted a game that eschewed those trappings and made exploration-based narrative its key mechanic. Last night, I played that game in Gone Home.”

Read the full article here: