Penguin’s Digital Fiction Gaming

British publishing giant Penguin Books just launched We Tell Stories, an innovative “digital fiction” effort that leverages alternate-reality gaming and web 2.0 tools to create an all-new form of storytelling. Working with ARG developer Six To Start, they have produced six stories that will roll out one per week. First off is The 21 Steps which leverages Google Maps to take you on an adventure (each story is expected to use different methods for presentation/interaction).

It’s a great idea and fun experiment in storytelling. I found The 21 Steps a bit slow to get through (each stop on the Google Map is just a few sentences), but we’ll have to wait and see how it progresses. There are alternate reality clues/experiences hidden throughout the screens and story…so those who can find them will have a richer experience than those who just follow the plot. It would be cool if they incorporate more social networking/role playing so that readers can contribute to the actual narrative….maybe they already do and I just haven’t found out how. Yet.