Hypertext is text displayed on a computer display or other electronic devices with references (hyperlinks) to other text which the reader can immediately access, or where text can be revealed progressively at multiple levels of detail (also called StretchText). The hypertext pages are interconnected by hyperlinks, typically activated by a mouse click, keypress sequence or by touching the screen.


Text as Multimedia

Interactive Fiction


linked via http://nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ChooseFEAT.jpg


Choose Your Own Adventure


Originally created for 10- to 14-year-olds, the books are written in the second person. The protagonist—that is, the reader—takes on a role relevant to the adventure; for example, private investigator, mountain climber, race car driver, doctor, or spy. Stories are generally gender and race neutral, though in some cases, particularly in illustrations, a male bias is evident. In some stories, the protagonist is implied to be a child, whereas in other stories, he/she is presumably a young adult.

The stories are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces two or three options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings. The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 40 in the early titles, to as few as 12 in later adventures. Likewise, there is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of good to bad endings, or the reader’s progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.


Digital Interactive Fiction

Released in 1980

zork_feat-2Enter ZORK. Zork took the concept of interaction much farther with the “reader” taking control of the commands.

In the Zork games, the player is not limited to verb-noun commands, such as “take lamp”, “open mailbox”, and so forth. Instead, the parser supports more sophisticated sentences such as “put the lamp and sword in the case”, “look under the rug”, and “drop all except lantern”. The game understands many common verbs, including “take”, “drop”, “examine”, “attack”, “climb”, “open”, “close”, “count”, and many more. The games also support commands to the game directly (rather than taking actions within the fictional setting of the game) such as “save” and “restore”, “script” and “unscript” (which begin and end a text transcript of the game text), “restart”, and “quit”. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zork#Commands

Age of the Personal Computer

Reflecting on the SAMR model, early personal computing replaced analogue functions in many ways. Word processing, calculations and finances and even graphics could now be done digitally. But when did this digital text move past substitution and augmentation stages?


  • Hypertext is text which is not constrained to be linear.
  • Hypertext is text which contains hyperlinks to other texts. The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1965 (see History ).
  • HyperMedia is a term used for hypertext which is not constrained to be text: it can include graphics, video and sound , for example. Apparently Ted Nelson was the first to use this term too.

HypertextEditingSystemConsoleBrownUniv1969Hypertext allowed for a revolutionary way to link content and context, to move non-linerally from information to information. It’s difficult to explain just how different the world was before the concept was put into place. It was this concept that eventually lead to the creation of what we know as the world wide web.

The Pedagogical Considerations of Hypertext

Let’s consider these definitions of these key terms presented by Dale S. Niederhauser in Educational Hypertext

  • Hierarchical hypertext: A hypertext structure in which content is ordered relative to the concepts pre-sented. The concepts presented on a screen link to superordinate (more general) concepts or subordinate (more specific) concepts.
  • Linear hypertext: A hypertext structure in which links allow the reader to move forward and backward through the content, as if turning the pages of a book.
  • Relational hypertext: A hypertext structure with links that allow the reader to access information on other screens that have some logical, conceptual, or hierarchical connection to the content on the current screen.
  • Self-regulated learning: When learners set their own goals for learning, then attempt to plan, monitor, regulate, and control their cognition, motivation, behavior, and context.
  • User control: The degree to which the reader can deter-mine the sequence and pacing of information accessed in a hypertext.



zork_feat-2  zork-1980Zork_screenshot

Interactive fiction, often abbreviated IF, is software simulating environments in which players use text commands to control characters and influence the environment. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives and as video games.

Example: ZORK I by Infocom

80 Days

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Award winning interactive fiction app/game/novel. Available on the iPad.

The plot is loosely based on Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days. The year is 1872 and Monsieur Phileas Fogg has placed a wager at the Reform Club that he can circumnavigate the world in eighty days or less. The game follows the course of this adventure, as narrated by Phileas Fogg’s manservant Passepartout, whose actions and decisions are controlled by the player.


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Another free example of Interactive Fiction for touch devices. A totally unique experience enabled by modern devices, this story plays out in real time. As Taylor works to stay alive, notifications deliver new messages throughout your day. Keep up as they come in, or catch up later when you’re free. You can even respond to Taylor directly from your Apple Watch or your iPhone lock screen, without launching into the app.

Luminous Airplanes


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Hypertext fiction is a genre of electronic literature, characterized by the use of hypertext links which provide a new context for non-linearity in literature and reader interaction.[1]

Example : Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge


Cathy’s Book


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Transmedia storytelling (also known as transmedia narrative or multiplatform storytelling, cross-media seriality) is the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies.

Example: Cathy’s Book by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman