Enacted experiences can create intense personal connection to authored targets

The creator of an Enacted experience can induce intense personal connection to a specific experience they have authored. One important consequence: Enacted experiences amplify the power of narrative.

In Journey, for instance, players can do little but walk forward up the mountain. The sequence of environments they traverse are carefully choreographed so that most players experience an emotional hero’s journey, culminating in rebirth and divine transcendence. It’s not a passive experience: the player took every step with the character. So the character’s ascension is felt particularly deeply.

Great movies and books can be quite moving, but the stakes I feel in those media are nowhere near as intense. I’m empathizing with the characters, but I don’t become the characters. There’s no contingency; I’m not making any of this happen; nothing I can do will change anything.

Social environments can create intense personal connections, but generally not to specific authored experiences.

Likewise, software environments can create intense personal connections, but they’re usually not to specific authored experiences. Snapchat’s streaks are one interesting counter-example.

This relates to Situated Learning - Lave and Wenger’s arguments that Situated learning is a process of identity construction/transformation. I think they’d also suggest that my framing here is too didactic; they’d advocate legitimate participation in a task in community:

When the process of increasing participation is not the primary motivation for learning, it is often because "didactic caretakers" assume responsibility for motivating newcomers. In such circumstances, the focus of attention shifts from coparticipating in practice to acting upon the person-to-be-changed.


Thatgamecompany, Inc. (2012). Journey. Retrieved from http://thatgamecompany.com/journey/

Situated Learning - Lave and Wenger

Last updated 2024-04-03.