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Spotlight on Indie #6: FoldingStory

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

We take a look at a very unique title that plays more like an activity than an actual video game.

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    Storytelling in a Group, Browser-Style


    Group activities are something of a lost art these days. Not too long ago, people would get together with friends and engage in quirky group games that required participation from everyone involved and yielded entertaining results. A new browser-based game called FoldingStory takes aspects from video games and uses them to create a group-themed activity. It’s free, it’s simple, and it’s old-school. More than anything else, though, it’s a heck of a lot of fun, and because it’s hardly time-consuming, FoldingStory is easy to recommend to anyone who wants an offbeat experience in between Call of Duty play sessions or Mortal Kombat brawls.

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    The Concept of FoldingStory

    FoldingStory is a simple game, and its origins are rooted in classic group storytelling games. Remember when you would create a story with your friends by writing a line or two of fiction on a piece of paper and passing it on to the next person to see what he or she would write based off of your section of story? FoldingStory plays just like that. It’s storytelling in a group, without having to worry about wasting paper or waiting for a group of buddies to actually join in.

    You have access to dozens upon dozens of stories. You can create your own or participate in an ongoing tale. Each story is made up of 10 lines of fiction, and all you have to go by is the line before yours. Based off of this line, you must keep the story going. After submitting your piece of the plot, another FoldingStory user will add to the story based off of what you wrote. The premise alone makes for some very interesting results, and most of the time, the stories become so incredibly outlandish that it’s difficult not to have a good chuckle.

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    Why It Works

    Contributing to stories is fun and addictive. 

    FoldingStory is highly accessible and very inviting. There’s no learning curve, you don’t need any fancy hardware on your computer, you don’t need to shell out the extra cash for a traditional gamepad, and you can join in as you please. The experience in FoldingStory is calm, funny, and offbeat, making for a game that acts as an in-between activity rather than a time-consuming title. Need something to do during loading times in a game? Are you playing Monster Hunter Tri and need something to do while you wait for other users to join you in an online hunt? You can pass the time adding bits and pieces to different tales on FoldingStory.

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    Who Is FoldingStory For?

    Anyone who wants some good, unadulterated fun is sure to get a kick out of FoldingStory. 

    Realistically, anyone can get into FoldingStory. Because it’s so unimposing, it invites gamers to get into it, and it offers many elements found in contemporary video games, so it’s not some anti-gaming title created to shun the gaming community. Non-gamers and hardcore video game enthusiasts are sure to have a blast with FoldingStory. That’s just how engaging and encouraging it is.

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    What Kind of Stories Can I Write?

    Due to its emphatic focus on freedom, FoldingStory allows you to get creative and write about any topic you please. Want to join in and add your take to a story of wizards and dragons? Perhaps you want to create your own fictional story about a giant alien monster. Or maybe, just maybe, you would rather start a serious tale about a lone hero. You can do all of these things. However, don’t go envisioning a complete story before it’s finished, because chances are another FoldingStory player who adds to your 10-line mini-novel will likely change the concept considerably. This quirky element makes most stories enjoyable to read, and seeing the results is the best part about FoldingStory.

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    Is This Really a Video Game?

    The game features a leaderboard, making it feel like a video game in a sense. 

    FoldingStory is a unique concept that doesn’t feel like your typical gaming experience. Mario, God of War, and Halo are completely different beasts, and FoldingStory doesn’t fall under this category of game at all. To some people, it may not even be a real game. But because it follows many of the standards of modern video games, FoldingStory certainly feels like one at times. The game’s emphasis on collaboration makes it play a lot like a cooperative group title. Additionally, the game features a leaderboard system. Fellow users can give you points for each of your individual posts, and the more points you rack up, the higher you’ll go on the leaderboard.

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    Good Offbeat Fun

    FoldingStory doesn’t offer the type of experience you would probably expect from most video games. Like the recent PC and Xbox Live Arcade release B.U.T.T.O.N., though, it offers an offbeat gaming experience that’s fun in short bursts and in between other tasks. The game is so inviting that gamers and non-gamers alike are bound to get into it. Everyone should have a FoldingStory account, because this title is the perfect companion for those moments when you find yourself with nothing to do or with a few minutes to kill. Don't be surprised if you go back to FoldingStory repeatedly throughout the day to help create some comical, quirky fiction.