“Press SPACE BAR to continue.” “Click to continue.” “Tap to continue.”
These actions are like turning pages in a book. They’re digital ways of saying “next, please.” They carry an element of suspense, because we don’t know exactly what we’re going to get next, but also an element of performance, because while the author controls the “what”—which might include text, images, a musical phrase, or all of the above—we control the “when,” turning the experience into something akin to performing a musical instrument.
One-button storytelling seems almost too simple to be useful, but simplicity is its greatest virtue. I’ve been experimenting with various forms of one-button storytelling for years now, in projects like Strange Rain, Ruben & Lullaby, and Upgrade Soul, and I’ve become so fascinated by this approach that I’ve developed an open source library called Stepwise with the goal of making one-button stories easy to create, share, and modify.
Every story here, powered by the Stepwise library, is open for you to perform, modify, or replace with your own content, and using Google Sheets you even can share direct links to your own creations, without registering for an account. I hope that as this site grows, some of you will use Stepwise in your own projects; it’s fit for a wide range of applications.
I hope you’ll perform, play, and share what you find and create here, and I welcome your feedback and suggestions.
Erik Loyer January 2017