February 2, 2004

Groundhog Day and IF (again)

by Andrew Stern · , 9:37 pm

Today being Groundhog Day in U.S. (and elsewhere?) reminds me how the movie Groundhog Day suggests a model for how interactive stories could work. Rather than write up my own essay on the topic however, I’ll link to others who have already discussed this, found via Google:

A discussion on rec.arts.int-fiction, found in Stephen van Egmond’s / Magnus Olsson’s archive
Discussed in Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck
An essay from the website TransparencyNow
The Five Stages of Writing for Interactive” by game designer Noah Fahlstein
A mention by Dennis Jerz in “IF, literature and…”
Our Let’s do it again discussion last August

I recently saw an interview on public television with the director, Harold Ramis, and he was surprised at the cult following the movie has had since it came out over ten years ago. I don’t think he was aware of the interactive story design community’s interest in it though.

Anybody know of other related essays?

18 Responses to “Groundhog Day and IF (again)”

  1. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Freedom Baird wrote an article on “”, but it’s 404, and not cached in Google or Wayback. That link and a few others are on this page:


  2. JJ86 Says:

    Hmmm, we were just having a discussion about this over at RPG Codex. Thanks for the info and links.

  3. nick Says:

    Dennis, Freedom’s short Groundhog Day piece is still online. She did that for Janet Murray’s class on interactive narrative; her final creative project, Mass Transit, is also of interest – although it anticipates Magnolia more than recalling Groundhog Day.

  4. andrew Says:

    Looking through Freedom’s other class and art projects (a great name for a interactive story/game designer, by the way!) I see she collaborated with Richard Lachman. Small world — we hired Richard at PF.Magic a year or two later straight out of school; I worked with him on some of the later versions of Petz.

  5. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    Aha… I found my way to plaidbathtub but couldn’t locate the Groundhog Day article there. Thanks, Nick.

  6. Stephen Says:

    Just to let you know, that’s Steve van Egmond’s archive of rec.arts.int-fiction, not Magnus Olsson’s.

  7. nick Says:

    The paricular post Andrew linked to is found in the section of Steve van Egmond’s archive called “Magnus Olsson’s Personal Archive of interesting posts from 1992 through 1999,” so I think his citation is correct, in this case.

    Also, you don’t have to make up an anti-spam email address to post here. You can just omit an email address – like the URL, it’s optional.

  8. Stephen Says:

    Aha. I hadn’t realized what section the post was in.

  9. nick Says:

    Hm, I was wrong about the email address. Unless we allow “anonymous comments” (no name required, either) the email address is required. And for now I’d like to leave the settings so as to require a name, sicne I find that reasonable.

    Any email address you enter – fake or real – will only be available to the drivers if you also include a URL of yours, which you’re welcome to do, as long as your name isn’t Cheap Levitra.

  10. nick Says:

    Apropos of a conversation occuring right now on ifMUD’s popular channel #pedant:

    There are three boxes on the comment form above the text area for the comment itself. If you fill out “Name” and “Email Address” you are allowed to post a message. If you don’t fill out “URL,” your email address is published on the blog, linked to your name.

    If you do fill out “URL,” your email address is not published. It is available to the five of us who run the site, and if anyone offers a really sweet deal, Scott will certainly sell it to them, but otherwise, it doesn’t get published on the Web and isn’t available for evil Web harvesting or anything.

  11. Donut Age Says:
    6 more weeks
    …Incidentally Andrew Stern at grandtextauto has a post surveying arguments for the delightful movie Groundhog Day serving as a model for interactive fiction.

  12. Freedom Says:

    Here’s that link to my article & graph about Ground Hog’s Day (the movie). Enjoy! – FB

  13. andrew Says:

    Writer Response Theory agrees.

  14. michael Says:

    When I teach Interactive Narrative, I’m torn between spending time on linear media precursors of interactive narrative (like Groundhog Day) vs. focusing on implemented interactive narrative forms (e.g. hypertext, interactive fiction, AI story generators, games and story, including the ludology/narratology debate, autonomous characters, etc.). I spend the vast majority of the class time exploring implemented interactive narrative forms. I know when Janet Murray teaches Interactive Narrative, she spends more time on precursors and incunabular forms (like Groundhog Day).

  15. Grand Text Auto » Again, Again Says:

    […] it of the most excellent movie, I will recycle two past Groundhog Day-related blog posts. Groundhog Day and IF (again) Let’s do it again


  16. Dennis G. Jerz Says:

    I just noticed yesterday that L’avventura è l’avventura has been redesigned. So the article in which I (briefly) mention Groundhog Day is now at http://www.avventuretestuali.com/interviste/jerz-eng

  17. Grand Text Auto » The Sequence of Intimate Exchanges Says:

    […] ent permutations. Also read about it in the NYTimes. Talk about let’s do it again, groundhog! — Choice #2Knock Knock, by Jason Shiga, “is a 5 […]

  18. Grand Text Auto » …click… “I got you babe…” Says:

    […] Again Groundhog Day and IF (again) Let’s do it […]

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