Interactive Fiction games are fun in their own way, but what about an interactive video? I’m not just talking about when a youtuber says, “Click here to subscribe!” But rather, Youtube videos that give you choices within a story.
These interactive videos are similar to ‘Chose Your Own Adventure’ books, but include the element of a visual, similar to a video game. During the video, the viewer is given choices with on-screen links that send them either to a later part in the video or a new video altogether. Much like in other interactive games, the results vary. Searching Youtube for interactive games will result in dozens of various games. They can range from being over an hour long to barely 5 minutes. However, it depends on the creator for how in-depth and well-made these videos are.
In all due respect, these videos take hours to put together with just editing alone. The long wait and hard work involved in creating a single interactive video results in a small fan-base and lack of popularity. However, there are times when making these videos is worth the effort for the creator’s purpose.
For example, (and in the theme of things) Youtuber Evan Edinger has created ‘Who’s Your YouTube Valentine?’ videos which involve several youtubers collaborating in making a silly questionnaire that matches the viewer with their Valentine youtuber ‘date’. Even though it is labeled as a Youtube Valentine interactive video, this also allows for viewers to discover other youtubers they may not know about. Each choice made in Edinger’s video results in a different outcome for each choice made. To add to the chance, most of these kinds of videos make the next choice as a ‘locked’ or ‘hidden’ video that can be only accessed through clicking the right links beforehand. This allows for a more authentic end unless the viewer wishes to restart from the beginning.
Although not as intricate, there are plenty of videos that tell stories in two or more parts. They can also be considered interactive, but choosing to click to the other part of the story isn’t always necessary. On Dan Howell’s channel, he has two videos called ‘The Panic Alarm’ and ‘The Power Nap’. While watching both isn’t necessary, he annotates in ‘The Power Nap’ to watch Part 1, ‘The Panic Alarm’ to gain a better sense of the story he is about to tell.
These are the most common types of interactive videos that can be found on Youtube, as the website allows creators to ‘annotate’ the video which makes it possible to link other videos. Until recently, annotations were not capable of working on mobile devices. Youtube has corrected this error, although perhaps only through accessing the Youtube app, as interacting with videos without the app is a hit or miss. Perhaps in the future these interactive videos will grow to find a new niche to excel in, whether it is teaching, exploring, or more story-telling. The possibilities for this medium are unless, or even just one click away!