On January 15th, Google will disappear all Youtube annotations, which have lots of structural problems (spammy, don't work well on mobile or big screens), but which have been a font of creative inspiration that spawned whole genres of interactive Youtube projects, from games to interactive films to branching narrative adventures to musical experiments, to collaborative art projects to deep context and annotation.
XOXO co-founder Andy "Waxy" Baio has produced a roundup of some of the greatest examples of creative and inspirational Youtube annotations, along with some preliminary steps you can take to export annotations before they disappear down the memory hole.
From the moment that YouTube announced Annotations in June 2008, they were already proposing its use for the creation of games and interactive stories. The blog post links to this simple Shell Game video from May 14, 2008 as an example, quite likely the first YouTube game ever made.
Annotations were particularly well-suited for choice-based Choose Your Own Adventures, stringing together a collection of videos that let viewers decide the story.
The first I remember was Tube Adventures, a simple Spanish choose-your-own-adventure video. Terminator Interactive Game, a simple FPS by a 12-year-old boy, showing just how accessible these games were to create.
Stupid Mario Brothers took a live-action, and occasionally NSFW, approach to the Mario franchise, while Choose A Different Ending took a more gritty approach.
YouTube creators Chad, Matt & Rob pushed the genre further with a series of five interactive adventures: The Time Machine. The Treasure Hunt, The Teleporter, The Birthday Party, and The Murder.
A Tribute to YouTube Annotations [Andy Baio/Waxy]
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