Inanimate Alice: Storytelling of the Future

Inanimate Alice, written by Kate Pullinger is an “educational digital game.” However, while going through the first eight minute episode, it didn’t feel like a game. Other than one interaction where the “player” has to click on flowers in the field to take a picture (which didn’t really seem to work that well, but my computer could be at fault), the player doesn’t really play the game. As far as I could see, the only other interaction was the clicking of arrows to go further in the story. Nonetheless, this works as effective interaction.

While Inanimate Alice lacks the interactive structure that I’m used to finding in a game, it does work successfully to show how our lives are intertwined with technology.

Alice and her parents live in a rural environment where I would imagine that technology would not play that great of a part. Instead, Alice finds refuge in her imaginary digital friend Brad that she can view on her phone device. When her father doesn’t come back from his job, Alice and her mother take their jeep and go looking for him. A good part of the narrative is Alice exploring her device by taking pictures, looking at Brad, and stating what she’d rather be doing than searching the desolate and frightening landscape for her father. Alice uses technology the same way I do: when I’m bored and in a sense, when I want to escape reality.

While commenting on our near-future, if not already present digital age, Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph use a mix of images, music, text, and easy puzzles to create Alice’s story. I believe that Inanimate Alice could be very effective way of storytelling for future children born in the technology era by communicating with them through the medium which they are most used to.