interactive media can be like bullet-time in the Matrix
The “bullet-time” scene in The Matrix dramatically slows down time while the camera pans around Neo, allowing us to see how he expertly avoids bullets as they fly by. It seems to me that, at it’s best, interactive media can be like this, with the important addition of user control. Rich, productive interaction enables the user to freeze things, examine the topic in detail, move through the content, and have control over what they perceive–time, perspective, focus, sight, sound, juxtaposition, etc. Further, having taken control of perception, the user can move and change elements, affecting the meaning directly, and creating a personally meaningful version of the work.
I’m not arguing that interaction should be cinematic, as Steven Spielberg recently suggested to students at USC’s program in gaming. Film is one medium, interaction is another with it’s own grammar, character, and means of communication. What I am suggesting is that interaction designers should provide users with the sense of magic, power, and real-time manipulation implied by the bullet-time technique.