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Life Is Strange: episodic video games prove as addictive as episodic television

"In another important respect, however, Life Is Strange is quite on-trend: it's being released episodically, every six weeks, in two- to three-hour instalments. The premiere episode arrived on 30 January; episode two followed at the end of March, and the next is set for May.

Dividing a title into chapters and publishing them in succession has become something of a phenomenon in the gaming industry in recent years. It started as a low-risk alternative to the usual blockbuster release strategy – and of late has begun to yield many games that, like Life Is Strange, might never have been green-lit under the traditional system.

Simon Parkin, a freelance writer on games for the New Yorker magazine, believes the popularity of the episodic approach has been 'facilitated by the rise of digital distribution methods', which have made it 'much easier and cheaper to release any number of titles'. Instead of pressing and shipping costly discs to brick-and-mortar stores, publishers can now upload a title to online marketplaces like Steam and Sony's Playstation Store, where players can download them instantly.

That ease of digital access has all but revolutionized the dissemination of games."

(Calum Marsh, 26 April 2015)



2015 • adolescent female • awkward adolescence • branching options • butterfly effect • choices • digital distributiondistribution models • Dontnod Entertainment • episodic format • episodic interactive drama • episodic structurefemale protagonistgirl • graphic adventure • illustrative style • inner struggle • interactive narrative • Life Is Strange (2015) • Maxine Caulfield • media distribution • memory and identity • memory and nostalgia • Michel Koch • nostalgia • photography student • PolaroidPolaroid camera • Raoul Barbet • reverse timerewind time • Square Enix • third-persontime manipulationtime rewindtime-based game mechanic • travel back in time • video game


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