First, I’ll give a very short definition from Urban Dictionary of “breaking the fourth wall” for people who have no idea what it is:
“The fourth wall” is an expression stemming from the world of theater. In most modern theater design, a room will consist of three physical walls, as well as a an imaginary fourth that serves to separate the world of the characters from that of the audience.
In fiction, “breaking the fourth wall” often means having a character become aware of their fictional nature. This can range from your character advising you to “Press X” in a tutorial all the way to Psycho Mantis reading your memory card and mentioning the other games you’ve been playing. However, the most direct violation of the fourth wall would be a character openly acknowledging they are in a video game or even directly speaking to you, the player, instead of to your character.
I remember, a while ago, I fell in love with an app that I can’t mention here, but I think I’m allowed to describe it (as briefly as I can): It’s a sort of visual novel/messenger app where you’re texting fictional characters and following a story through “chat rooms” and dialogues you unlock. The story happens in real time and lasts eleven days. The protagonist (whom you’re controlling) is thrown into a private group chat by accident and talks to five main fictional characters: one of which occasionally breaks the fourth wall, discreetly, rarely, and for very short amounts of time. It gives a whole new dimension to the story and is really well thought out. This app’s concept is quite difficult to explain, especially to people who might’ve never heard of it, but I find it really unique and as I said, I fell in love with it.
Now, I know that Episode is very different from this kind of app and I’ve seen a few people talk about how they absolutely despise it when characters in Episode stories break the fourth wall. I personally would love it if I found an Episode story that did it well (which I don’t think I’ve found to this day) and I just find the concept of breaking the fourth wall very interesting.
Some people generally hate it while some people generally love it…
Some people, like me, love it only when it’s really well thought out and is used with true purpose in the story, even for comedic purpose like in the case of Deadpool. Since this is very subjective, I’d like to start a discussion about breaking the fourth wall (I will sometimes refer to it as “btfw”).
- What’s your stance on btfw? Do you love it, hate it, or like it only in an ideal context?
- Have you ever made any of your characters break the fourth wall?
- Have you read any stories in which characters break the fourth wall? What did you think of it?
- Ever read an Episode story in which characters break the fourth wall in an interesting way? If so, could you share which story that was?
- What makes or breaks the usage of btfw, in your opinion?
- Do you think there are any rules to follow in order to break the fourth wall well?
- Do you think Episode is a good app for stories in which characters break the fourth wall? Or do you think it’s just not the right medium for this?
I’d love to know your thoughts.
Enjoy the conversation!