A newly released app called Versu takes fictional tales and makes them interactive adventures, with readers able to decide how conversations and events pan out.
Offered as part of the free app is a tutorial story, told in the style of a Victorian-era guide to etiquette, accompanied by two further works: "The Unwelcome Proposal," which is an interactive adaptation of a scene from "Pride & Prejudice," and the original story "The House on the Cliff."
In the future, Versu intends to expand its authorial content to include stories submitted by its own readers.
As an iPad app published by Linden Labs, which is best-known for alternate reality program Second Life, it makes sense of Linden's decision to purchase interactive fiction startup Little Text People in January of 2012.
That startup was founded by Richard Evans, who had worked on several games in life simulation series "The Sims," and well-known interactive fiction author Emily Short.
On the gaming side, functional parallels could be drawn with a range of games that range from seminal 1980 text adventure "Zork" to today's diverse offerings: the customer service conversational "I Get This Call Every Day," visual novel "Virtue's Last Reward," recuperative meditation "Trauma," or detective thriller "Heavy Rain."
In online literature, too, Versu fits well with trends towards more interactivity in fiction, hence the success of the reader-driven Homestuck series, upcoming Hamlet reworking "To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure" by webcomic kingpin Ryan North, and the Inklewriter website's selection of user-created stories.