Aaron A. Reed has worked as a travel writer, web monkey, offensive t-shirt designer, graphic artist, filmmaker, and murder mystery producer. His fiction has appeared in “Fantasy & Science Fiction” magazine, and the story “Shutdown/Retrovival” was selected for that publication's “Best of 2003” audio book compilation.
More recently, Aaron has created groundbreaking works of interactive fiction. His IF “Whom the Telling Changed” competed in the 2006 Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemakers Competition in Park City, Utah, was selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Volume One, and was nominated for Best Script in the GameShadow Innovation in Games Festival. “Telling” has since been studied in new media courses around the world.
In 2009, Aaron released an IF novel, Blue Lacuna, which, according to one reviewer, “must be mentioned in any discourse on the maturation and development of interactive fiction.” With nearly 400,000 words of prose and natural language source code, Lacuna, an IndieCade finalist, is one of the largest interactive fictions in existence. An explorable story about the nature of choice and happiness, the novel includes a major character who evolves and develops a unique relationship with the player/reader over the course of the narrative. Whether he becomes a friend, a mentor, a lover, a sycophant, or one of eight other archetypes is dependent on how he is treated in up to 70 distinct scenes and conversations over the work's ten chapters.
A companion web experience, "blueful," was hailed by readers as “simply beautiful,” “intriguing and wonderful,” “fantastic,” “overwhelmingly cool,” “spooky and marvelous,” “the weirdest poetry medium I've seen,” “crazy,” “enthralling,” “an incredible ride,” “a tour de force of loveliness,” and “a real milestone in Web 2.0 storytelling.”
Aaron's 2011 project "'what if im the bad guy' and other stories" received the jury award for Best in Show of the Digital Arts & New Media graduate exhibition at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Aaron is currently pursuing a computer science PhD at UC Santa Cruz with Michael Mateas and Noah Wardrip-Fruin's research group, the Expressive Intelligence Studio, exploring new ways that digitally mediated experiences can enable meaningful, richly participatory narratives.
Publications (First or Sole Author)
"SpyFeet: An Exercise RPG." With Samuel, Ben and Sullivan, Anne and Grant, Ricky and Grow, April and Lazaro, Justin and Mahal, Jennifer and Kurniawan, Sri and Walker, Marilyn and Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, 2011.
"A Step Towards the Future of Role-Playing Games: The SpyFeet Mobile RPG Project. With Samuel, Ben and Sullivan, Anne and Grant, Ricky and Grow, April and Lazaro, Justin and Mahal, Jennifer and Kurniawan, Sri and Walker, Marilyn and Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. In Proceedings of the 7th Annual International Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment Conference, Stanford, 2011.
"A Sequence of Possibilities: Constructive fictions, quantum authoring, and the search for an ideal story system." MFA Thesis. University of California Santa Cruz, 2011.
"Creating 'maybe make some change'." In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition, Atlanta, 2011.
"Blue Lacuna: Lessons Learned Writing the World's Longest Interactive Fiction." In Electronic Literature Organization Archive & Innovate, Brown University, 2010.
"Knock's Memories: Creating an Emotional Story Space with Inform 7." At Critical Code Studies, USC, 2010.