@PLAY NYC: Otis

It is hard to bring something new in terms of story telling. The information era has made it that ideas spawn from each other, which is fine. But Otis is a whole new beast of innovation that is both unique and captivating.

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Otis isn’t so much a game. It is more akin to a movie that you choose what portion you want to experience as you go along, and that is perfect. Otis (developed by Casey Stein, Bernard Zeiger, Sanjay Singh, and Dustin Grant) is a project that allows viewers to switch viewpoints between the characters involved in a story. Using the A, S, and D keys on your computer, you change who you follow.

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In the demo I played, I experienced a story in which a father leaves his daughter in the hands of a babysitter who along with her boyfriend, plans to stage a home invasion to rob her employer. It is a tense story to experience, made even better by the fact you can change that experience.

I found myself switching constantly back and forth between the father as he left and the intruder as he entered the home, hoping he would be caught. I looked over to the babysitter whose nervous demeanor made me think she would buckle at any second and tell her partner she no longer wanted to do it. Each story is full in its own right, only working together to bring out a larger picture of both motive and behavior.

As I gave it a second play-through, I decided to challenge Otis. I changed the perspective quickly and randomly. It was my attempt to see if I could catch any mistakes, trip the game up.

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I could not. The designers, storywriters, and actors masterfully worked together for a project that I’m now really excited for.

The Future of narrative

After I played at the con, I had to share it with everyone in our office who all spent their time gasping and telling each other to switch back to specific characters. We all applauded after a character was left unconscious so their perspective was just a flickering black screen for a bit.

Otis is innovative. It claimed my attention and had me excited to see every angle perspective possible. Their are more episodes planned for Otis but at the moment you can check out the same one I played on the website here.

 

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