The Impact of Interactivity on Truth Claims in Life Stories

Evelyn Chew, Alex Mitchell

Abstract


Autobiographies, biographies, and documentary life stories all claim to tell a ‘true life story’. Yet each life story genre highlights different aspects of the truth. In autobiography, the personal subjective truth of self-identity is foregrounded. In biography, it is the seemingly objective truth about someone’s life asserted by another person, whose mediation introduces an element of subjectivity. In a documentary life story testimonial, the credibility of the objective truth presented is of utmost importance, but so is the subjective life experience that undergirds it. In this article we ask: How is interactivity exploited to construct the truth claims in interactive life stories across genres? By comparing three interactive nonfiction life stories – an autobiography, Fitting the Pattern (Wilks 2008), the biographical docugame The Cat and the Coup (Brinson / ValaNejad 2011), and the documentary Alma (Fougère / Dewever-Plana 2012) –, we explore how the aspects of truth most relevant to each life story genre are foregrounded using interactivity.