Playable Groundhog Day

groundhog day “Groundhog Day” is a must for any interactive narrative course.

I’m sure someone else has realized this, but it occured to me the other day that “Groundhog Day” is a great example for the experience of a user at the helm of any interactive work.

  1. The initial conditions are always the same (though not true of all interactive works, true enough)
  2. Bill Murray goes through various user approaches: He tries to play, tries to win, behaves badly, et cetera.
  3. Murray eventually develops skills and a deep knowledge of the system (Implied Code)
  4. So put this on your syllabus, early on, especially when discussing user approaches to works. Imagine teaching Galatea or even a video game, after showing this movie. The film drags a bit in the middle, but that’s part of interactive experiences, or part of what leads into and out of periods of frustration.

4 Responses to “Playable Groundhog Day ”

  1. 1 Christy Dena

    Good reminder Mark. This is indeed a great film for using to illustrate such interactivity and player experience concerns.

  2. 2 andrew stern
  3. 3 Mark Marino

    Thanks, Andrew, you must feel like you are living Groundhog Day, having to post the same links over and over again!

  4. 4 Jeremy Douglass

    Perhaps taking this Groundhog Day discussion in a new direction would be to ask: what is the fiction of “initial conditions”?

    Groundhog Day - “He’s having the worst day of his life… over, and over….”
    Lola Rennt / Run Lola Run - “Every second of every day you’re faced with a decision that can change your life.”
    The Butterfly Effect - “Change one thing, change everything.”

    Interactive Fiction:
    Rematch - “An interactive repetition”

    Rewind - “To which moment do you wish to be returned?”


    I really should be able to do better than this, but these are all I can come up with right now. Any additions, anyone?

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