Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile on the iPad

Given how much I enjoyed reading Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile, I was thrilled to hear it had been transformed into an iPad app ($4.99 US, also available for iPhone).

Meanwhile app icon

Created by Andrew Plotkin, a major force in interactive fiction, two of the things that set the app apart from the book are described as follows:

The story is laid out in a single giant page, which would be five feet square if printed. And the iPhone’s assistive features make the app completely accessible for blind users — which is not something most graphic novels can boast.

Here’s a teaser video (with draft navigation icons) showing how it works:

Thanks to the developer, I got the chance to check it out for myself, and it was great. Instead of having to be careful to visually follow the right path, the app handles all the mechanics for you, allowing you to focus on the art, story, and choices. Even when you’re reading in a sequence, you move from panel to panel via a yellow highlight, tapping whenever you’re ready to move on.

Even more fun are the extra buttons, showing you the entire story as a map or the story so far, or my favorite, Back to Last Choice. (As a kid, reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, I always kept my finger in the last choice so I could eventually read everything.) You can also start over once everything’s gone pear-shaped (since this is a Jason Shiga story underneath, after all). It’s a beautiful combination of comic story and game.

Find out more at this blog post by Plotkin in which he talks about developing it from the book.


4 Responses to “Jason Shiga’s Meanwhile on the iPad”

  1. Rob Says:

    You just cost me five dollars. I hope you’re happy.

  2. Johanna Says:

    I haven’t seen a lot of apps I’d pay $5 for, but this is definitely one of them and worth the price. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. vid Says:

    This sounds really fun. An excellent way of using technology to enhance and improve an existing medium. Choose your own adventure stories were fun but cumbersome to deal with in book form but I’d imagine if they could all be adapted to tablets and computers like this, it could lead to the rise of a interactive fiction.

  4. Comics A.M. | Comic sales climb 19%; IDW promotes Goldstein | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    [...] Digital comics | Johanna Draper Carlson reviews the iPad version of Jason Shiga’s choose-your-own-adventure tale Meanwhile: “Instead of having to be careful to visually follow the right path, the app handles all the mechanics for you, allowing you to focus on the art, story, and choices. Even when you’re reading in a sequence, you move from panel to panel via a yellow highlight, tapping whenever you’re ready to move on.” The iPad seems like the natural medium for this particular work. [Comics Worth Reading] [...]




Categories:

Pages:



Meta:

Most Recent Posts: