The Knotted Line

Emerging Technologies and Edtech June 19, 2014

Country of Origin: United States
Languages: English
Developer: Evan Bissel & Erik Loyner
Publisher: Radical Imagination
Year Published: 2012
Platforms: Web
Genre: Interactive Narrative
Subjects: Reading, Civics, Social Studies, History
Age Range: high school +

The Knotted Line is more of an interactive artwork than a game. Players navigate a kind of timeline, tracing the experience of minority and oppressed populations through the United States’ history. It’s not a strictly linear timeline – events that occur hundreds of years apart can be linked by the same node if they’re thematically connected, making this more a chronology of ideas than of time. The timeline is fully interactive and has three main mechanics that users interact with. Players can grab the line itself and “tear” it in a certain place, revealing a mural. On occasion, a small red dot is revealed in these murals. Holding the mouse over the red dot provides detail about an event and an opportunity to click through for more information via a Wiki. The third, and most interesting, method of interaction is when, at certain moments, a question will appear along the bottom of the timeline (for example, “When was a time someone acted for you without your consent?”). Users can answer the question (and make their answer publically available) or read personal stories left by other users.

The Knotted Line is a fascinating re-contextualization of United States history. The website also contains resources for educators looking to use it in a classroom setting. Easy to use and provocative, The Knotted Line is sure to spark discussion in any setting.