Interactive Literature & Games: “I have no idea what visual design is”

Or “I have no idea what makes something visual pleasing or at the very least not seizure inducing”


Flight Paths

Flight Paths took such a long time to load I almost did not read it. I also keep losing the new pop up windows that opened up. I was actually reading These Waves of Girls while I waited for the hideously blue screens to move beyond the giant white 2-3% in the preview hovers.

I read the second installment before the first because of these loading issues making an already confusing story more confusing. That said, I feel Flight Paths successively utilized some features of digital platforms more so than These Waves of Girls. For example, the set delivery of the text implies a particular pace of reading (or thinking) that is not often accurately or strictly maintained in textually writing. In video/theatre the  delivery of lines can be paced (delivered slowly or quickly, in rapid succession etc.). In text writers have to either resort to space (as in poetry) to convey the pauses between thoughts or or else use filler words to stop the reader from reading too fast.

Often when I am writing I experience a process of thought, which I as rapidly as possible so I don’t forget, write down on paper. The development feels poignant to me, but when I re-read what I’ve written there is no longer the same quality of experience: the ideas are presented too rapidly one following the next, and the sense of discovery I felt while writing is not conveyed to the reader. I believe that the delivery of text in Flight Paths mimics the process of writing in this way, as well as imitates video/live theatre in its maintenance of time-sensitive reveal of events to the reader. (Is this confusing?)

Criticisms

  1. Although the audio is not particularly disruptive, I dislike that you cannot pause or adjust it.At the last “chapter” or section I found myself having to mute the audio as the gunshots were disruptive.
  2. At certain times the style of delivery of the story reminded me of jump-scare mechanisms. I did not know what sound effects could suddenly happen.
  3. One section used choppy looping videos–could not pause, but also can’t skip
  4. Some of the transitions/looping videos could possibly induce epileptic seizures
  5. No way to “jump” to a page. Have to proceed through all the slides of a section and wait for the page to process completely: I want to point out that this not the case with books, video, or audio files all of which we are able to access a point rather directly

[More under the cut]


These Waves of Girls

A summary: a horribly little experiment gone wrong.

I don’t know if TWoG is a product of the ye-old-internet before the gods of web design descended from the sky to fix things or if its purposefully the ugliest of mazes. I say maze because navigation was near impossible. It uses categorically organization the way tags are often used to organize items on the web. The first page lists what I’ll call ‘Groups’ and within each group was a list on the left of what I’ll call segments. Some segments had many pages. Many groups contained the same segments. Within the segments many had links that led to the same mysterious other segments/pages that were difficult to find outside of links–it was as if I’d been teleported to islands inaccessible outside of teleportation. It was hard to know what I’d read and what I hadn’t, or if I was reading the site ‘correctly’. The links could lead you away from your segment/page but you couldn’t return as easily unless you recalled the name of the section you were on (you could use the browser backspace button but that’s a browser function not a function of this website).

What really got me was the audio at the start front loading page–I didn’t even realize there was audio at first because I so often keep my computer muted to avoid non-user initiated audio.

Again, loading took so long I wondered if the fast moving gif and odd laughter was all there was and would have otherwise left.

I choose to not play audio since I cant read and listen at the same time. Half way through the text audio started playing anyways and I had no onscreen way of turning if off (or choosing which section could be read).

I have seen similar kinds of work in physical print (the autobiographical cut&paste picture style) that was far more visually pleasing and yet still full of unease.


Project Rebuild

An interesting poetic venture. My criticism is that it doesn’t do what it implies it does.

It says you take an existing poem (represented by the house) and renovate it. House renovations are place-time specific: if you renovate a house the previous version of the house (with all those said features) no longer exists, except say in representational copies of that house (ie. a photograph).

When you renovate a poem however, the poem is actually duplicated and what you edit is a copy. Various versions then of the ‘same’ poem exist on the main screen. My argument would be that all versions should be maintained but stored under the most recent version of that poem, which would be more like being in a renovated house, with access to photographs of what the house used to look like.

((In other words I dislike the format because it doesn’t reflect actually human experience which occurs in a linear time directed manner. On second thought, it is interesting to look at Project Rebuild as an archive of time-independent related objects. Like a bunch of alternate realities existing in a place at once, or all the versions of you at different ages in the same room.))


The Games

Dragon Warrior Text Adventure –old-school design is hard on eyes. As with the other games and Flight Paths can’t really ‘jump’ to a part: you must move sequentially. It was nice to not have other information on the page (ie. no audio, no moving images).

First person shooter–funny and cute, but seems like more of niche in-joke than any kind of story

Feminist Hero–Terrible design, definitely seizure inducing, and really WEIRD story

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