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From Reading to Playing

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Anastasia Salter

on 24 September 2015

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Transcript of From Reading to Playing

convergent devices
adventure games
playful literature

story apps reborn


"electronic" literature
reader-player binary?
“The adventure game is an artistic genre of its own, a unique aesthetic field of possibilities, which must be judged on its own terms” (107).

Espen Aarseth, Cybertext
“Even in the 1980s, when computing power allowed only rudimentary graphics, developers promoted their products by promising a narrative experience that rivaled in its sensory richness the offerings of action movies” (182).

Marie Laure-Ryan, Avatars of Story
If you go back and look at where adventure games were and where they went, you can see that the adventure game is still there, it's just a different/better (depending on your particular point of view) experience playing them. The adventure game ‘as we know it’ just keeps evolving. It's still evolving.

Roberta Williams, Designer of King's Quest
Before Fox plays “Johnny B. Goode” at the high school dance, he tells his audience, “This is an oldie . . . well, this is an oldie where I come from.”

Chuck Berry recorded “Johnny B. Goode” in 1958. Back to the Future was made in 1985, so the gap is twenty-seven years. I’m writing this essay in 2009, which means the gap between 1985 and today is twenty-four years. That’s almost the same amount of time.

Yet nobody would refer to Back to the Future as an “oldie,” even if he or she was born in the 1990s. What seems to be happening is a dramatic increase in cultural memory: As culture accelerates, the distance between historical events feels smaller.

Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur, 58
The relations between reader/story and player/game are completely different - the player inhabits a twilight zone where he/she is both an empirical subject outside the game and undertakes a role inside the game

Jesper Juul, Games Telling Stories, 2001
a book or a game?
Raymond Queneau’s
One Hundred Trillion Poems

ten sonnets, sliced and bound--

the "reader's" ordering of a page always creates a new sonnet
Mark Danielewski's
House of Leaves

a written hypertext
I believe that the promise of hypertext fiction is worth pursuing, even now, or maybe especially now. On the one hand, e-books are beginning to offer writers technical possibilities that, being human, we’re going to be unable to resist. On the other, the form fits with life now.

So much of what we do is hyperlinked and mediated by screens that it feels important to find a way to reflect on that condition, and fiction, literature, has long afforded us the possibility of reflection. Just as the novel taught us how to be individuals, 300 years ago, by giving us a space in which to be alone, but not too alone — a space in which to be alone with a book — so hypertext fiction may let us try on new, non-linear identities, without dissolving us entirely into the web.

"Why the book's future never happened", Paul LaFarge, Salon
Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story.

Henry Jenkins, Transmedia 202
is the future of literature found in...
Mystery House, 1980
King's Quest, 1982 - 1998
Monkey Island, 1990-2000
Day of the Tentacle, 1993
Grim Fandango, 1998
What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed, 2007
Biblion App, 2011
Our Choice, 2011
Inkling, 2011
Volume One, 2006
Volume Two, 2011
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, 2011
Pooh's Birthday Surprise, 2011
Broken Sword (PC 1996, iPad 2011)
As Daniel Punday observes, while there is an emerging trend towards the eBook as part of a digital library, this is one of the least compelling futures for electronic literature: “no model of the ebook based on the modular library can be entirely satisfying - no matter what DRM restrictions or freedoms are included with it. It is the nature of modular libraries to insist on uniformity of its members.”

Punday, Daniel. “Ebooks, Libraries, and Feelies.” Electronic Book Review. February 2, 2010.
< http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/criticalecologies/modular>
Will future electronic literature be easily categorized, or does its influence transcend these category boundaries?
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