Different people respond to different presentation formats with greater or lesser comprehension. Some people absorb information best when they receive it aurally, others when they receive it visually, and still others when they are kinetically involved. Receiving information in a variety of ways means that information gets broad sensual reinforcement in our memory and provides a whole experience. Games such as the Carmen Sandiego [Bro85] series uses a variety of presentation formats from printed text to animated sequences. For artistic reasons The Complete Maus [Spi94] gives the audience a choice of presentation formats in order to enrich their experience of the story of survivors of the Holocaust. On the Internet it is vital that graphic works are available in a text format as well, since many students and people from a number of countries can only receive text on their connection.
Creators just entering the field of digital media are tending to work under a false synecdoche whereby they are mistaking the filmic part of digital narrative for the whole of the medium. You Don't Know Jack [Ber95] relies primarily on the aural with minimal graphics and no video, and has been a great commercial success. A creator can emphasize the book-like, the musical, the filmic or any other possible similarities with other media in the telling of the story and do well to keep all such possibilites available as a part of their bag of magic tricks.
Copyright © 1996, 1999 Katherine Phelps