Perspectives and Agency in Her Story

Last class, we discussed the various roles that players can have when interacting with interactive fiction. In Her Story, I would argue that the player’s role would be categorized as a foil. In her blog post, “An Alternative Taxonomy for Her Story“, Emily Short describes this role as “the player-character’s interactions with the real protagonist serve to reveal and/or develop her character, but our own character remains something of a cipher.” In Her Story, the player’s goal is to figure out the role of a woman suspect in the murder of Simon. Unlike many other interactive fiction pieces we’ve looked at, in Her Story, the player serves as a third-person looking in. I imagined myself as a detective trying to pull information out of someone who wanted to trick me. Her Story as a game relies on the player not having all of the information. If it was told through the suspect’s perspective, I’d assume the focus would shift from trying to figure out the story to trying to successfully confuse the interrogator, making Her Story  a completely different game.


Another unique aspect of Her Story is the user interface and how the form mirrors its content. As I went through the videos, it was clear that there was a detailed investigation occuring. The player has to work through a computer database where the questioning of the suspect has been stored. As a detective, when there is a mystery, the instinct is to continue digging for evidence. One thing that particularly stood out to me was how players were limited to 5 entries – even if their “search term” resulted in more entries. This is part of the rule of significance, which is one of the rules of reading we spoke about earlier this semester. The rule of significance is interpreting the things you notice. Limiting the player to only 5 entries per “search term” ensures that the reader continues to search the database. Not only that, it increases the interactivity with the player. For me, this limitation motivated me more to continue searching through the database. Another example of the rule of significance are the dates on the video. By providing the player with this information, it allows the player more agency to put together the story of the suspect. 

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