Inklewriter

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Inklewriter is a platform for interactive fiction in the Choose Your Own Adventure Mode. They provide an example Sherlock Holmes story. They also have a digital edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Check out the very short example called “Holography” by theorist of interactive fiction Emily Short. This review by her of the Inklewriter platform reflects on the process of writing this piece and also mentions an app for converting an Inkle story to a Kindle book.

Can you find any compelling examples of stories made with Inklewriter for courses?

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Twine

If you want a break from the heavier reading about e-lit, consider breaking for a Twine, which we’ll be exploring tomorrow together in class.

Twine has become a very accessible platform for creating interactive texts online–and as Adam Hammond notes, people tend to refer to such texts as games with players rather than texts with readers.

Twine is really easy to start using, and also possible to do amazing things with if you know some coding.

If you have time before we meet, you might want to explore a couple of examples.
One of them is actually on our list for discussion tomorrow, Anna Anthropy’s queers in love at the end of the world, which uses a timer extension for Twine. I’d suggest playing/reading it a few times before reading what she says about it hereDepression Questwhich we are getting to later, was also produced with Twine.

Another is much more visual and show how extensively a Twine can be customized for look, feel, and mode of interaction. At least I believe that Nicky Case‘s

WE BECOME WHAT WE BEHOLD 
a game about news cycles, vicious cycles, infinite cycles

is also a Twine game, although I am nervous asserting that here since a somewhat extensive attempt to confirm this yielded nothing. It’s well worth playing (about 5 minutes) either way, though, and Case’s other work is worth looking at, such as Coming Out Simulator which is formally somewhat similar to Jellybones, though more minimalist.

Week 2: From Oulipo to oolipo?

ambigram-oulipo-by-basile-morin

So, the name of the app on which we are reading the Kate Pullinger story “Jellybone” is a reference to an important literary movement that has been very influential in the digital humanities.

The Oulipo movement (short for Ouvroir de Littérature Potentielle or Workshop of Potential Literature) started in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and is famous for approaching literature through rigorous constraints, such as George Perec‘s novel La disparitionwhich avoids, in French if you can imagine it, the use of the letter “e”. You can read more about the movement in the Wikipedia entry.

The movement has been extremely influential in the digital humanities, which favours experimenting with what Jerome McGann would call “textual deformance” and is informed by a very similar sense of play. In fact the ARP lab run by McGann and Johanna Drucker at University of Virginia was named in homage to the Pataphysics  that gave rise to Oulipo. Closer to home, I believe that Stéfan Sinclair wrote his PhD dissertation on the Oulipo movement, and the tool that eventually morphed into Voyant Tools was called HyperPo.

There’s a nice discussion of Oulipo in a DH context in Steve Ramsay’s Reading Machines. Also a nice discussion here on the Momento blog, the source of the image.

So —— do you see any connection with the app?

What is writing in the digital age?

We’re starting off with a bang this semester with a big chunk of contextual reading from Adam Hammond’s Literature in the Digital Age (Part 1, and Chapter 7) and several pieces of e-literature ranging from 1992 to 2017.

William Gibson, “Agrippa” (archive; video; text) – at least watch/read video

Caitlin Fisher, These Waves of Girls

Stephen Marche: “Lucy Hardin’s Missing Period”

Kate Pullinger, “Jellybones” (through the oolipo app for i0s or Android)

Anna Anthropy, “queers in love at the end of the world

Several of these use sound as well as text and images. I’m really curious to learn what people think of the use of sound in “Agrippa”. I remember finding it both powerful and disconcerting the first time I encountered the video.

Braid links

braid_title

Braid is fantastic and well worth playing. But I know it’s a busy time of semester. Some links if you didn’t have time to play it through (or if you are click-challenged like me and can’t get that far with it):

Opening: watch until you see the first screen with clouds and the narrative framing and then far enough in the gameplay to see the player use the  shift key to rewind time to redo after making a mistake (just before 4 minutes). You can see more uses of the reversal of time if you go a bit further.

Conclusion: the hidden ending that you only see if you collect all the stars in the game.

And if you have time and the inclination:

Super fast playthrough – 24 minutes (thanks, Matt!). You can see how the temporal element becomes used at points in how the player overcomes obstacles.

More Video Games….

Here’s my start on a list of more games and related things to explore, for those who are interested. As I noted, I asked a group of colleagues for feminist-oriented games, and this is the wonderful array of suggestions that resulted, slightly augmented by things that have come up as I’ve been exploring them. Descriptions are by people who recommended the games or from the site itself or by me, as indicated. Feel free to add to the list either by modifying it directly (for members of the class) or adding suggestions in comments.

Games

Analogue: A Hate Story. See the trailer on the site.

Choice: Texas. “an educational interactive fiction game addressing reproductive healthcare access in the state of Texas.” (site) Free.

Cibele  (Nina Freeman) See also http://boingboing.net/2015/11/11/cibele-and-the-end-of-an-era-f.html

Gone Home: “an interactive exploration simulator. ” “about Riot Grrrl and references zines, punk music and queer coming out, so it foregrounds the connections between games and other alternative modes of cultural production that have been taken up by feminists.” (recommender) About 2 hours. Trailer on site.

Dear Esther. 2012. See trailer on site. Painterly canvas, aesthetically ambitious. Described as both a game and as interactive storytelling by reviewers.

Dys4ia (Anna Anthropy). “A journal game about the six months of my life when I made the decision to begin hormone replacement therapy.”(site) Mac or Windows. See her rebuttal to the notion that it is an “empathy game” here and her sequel game ohmygod are you alright?

DepressionQuest (Zoe Quinn). “Depression Quest is an interactive fiction game where you play as someone living with depression.” (site) Pay what you can. Prompted the GamerGate controversy. Trailer here.

Luxuria Superbia (Tale of Tales). Multiple platforms.”A simple game of touch, pleasure and joy.” (site) Haptic–for touch screens or controllers (SB).

Freshman Year (Nina Freeman). “Freshman Year is a vignette game about an ordinary night in the life a college freshman named Nina.” (site)  Free.

Papers Pleasean immigration office simulator set in a vaguely soviet dystopia (recommender). iOS, PC, Mac, Linus. Trailer on site.

Rise of the Videogame Zinesters (Anna Anthropy)

Sunset (Tale of Tales): The protagonist woman of colour who has ended up, despite being an engineer, working as maid in the residence of a leader in oppressive Latin American regime starts to discover interesting things. (SB) See trailer on site.

Game designers:

Anna Anthropy: http://auntiepixelante.com/

Nine Freeman: http://ninasays.so/games/

Robert Yang: totally delightful (if also very sexually explicit) (recommender): http://debacle.us/

Related Links:

Games for Change: http://www.gamesforchange.org/

Serious games: http://valuesatplay.org/play-games

Merritt Kopas, Forest Ambassador: “a videogames site for anyone who is excited or even simply curious about the possibilities of digital play, but feels excluded, intimidated, or put off by videogames culture.” (site)

Anthropy, Anna. Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form.  2012. Book.”Part critical essay, part manifesto, part DIY guide….” (Amazon site)

Flanagan, Mary. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Book. See also the TED talk here: http://maryflanagan.com/tedxdartmouth-mary-flanagan-critical-play/

Kopas, Merrit. “Trans Women & The New Hypertext.” 2014. Blog post. Re: Twine games; Anna Anthropy.