Yesterday I finished playtesting Blast Theory’s soon to be released app, Karen. I don’t want to say too much about it, because I don’t want to spoil any surprises for you, and it’ll shortly (hopefully next week, pending approval, and assuming is ran as well for other playtesters as it did on my device) be free to download for iOS from the App Store. So you’ll be able to try it for youself, Android users will also get their turn, but not quite as soon. Its a culmination of the work on profiling that Blast Theory have been exploring over the last couple of years.
Its a great piece of interactive art. I’ll go so far as to say the best interactive story I’ve played. If only because it manages to create a sublime sense of real interaction. I’m not making decisions for an avatar, like John Martsen in Red Dead Redemption, but for myself. I’m telling Karen about me, not about what, for example, Marcus in Blood and Laurels, might do. I can tell the truth or I can lie (in fact I shuffled uneasily between the two) but that choice is mine.
Do I change Karen’s story through my decisions? To be honest, I don’t know, I’ve only had time to play through once. But the illusion of true interaction was surprisingly effective.
I especially like the use of Lickert sliders to answer some questions, which allowed me to be more “true to myself” than the multiple choice answers available for the other questions. Karen’s in a nuanced story, and sometimes I wanted, but was unable, to give a nuanced reply.
It’s great fun, get it. Its free after all. Maybe don’t play it in front of the kids, Karen can turn the conversation on a dime to subjects you might not want them to listen to. And decide now what you are going to tell your significant other about playing it, because Karen will be asking about them too…
Oh and my name is in the credits, look: