#2 Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

I had no idea what to expect from Hobo Lobo of Hamelin and I have to admit that I chose it because I liked the name of it. At the second glance, I realized why I thought the name sounded familiar – It reminded me of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”, a story/tale my grandma used to tell me when I was younger. So I was curious to see if Hobo Lobo was inspired by “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” or if the only thing they had in common was the name.

First Impression

First I had some difficulties opening the website, but after switching to another browser, it worked perfectly fine. I was surprised to find a page with a hand-drawn artwork – in my opinion a nice change to the digitally created artwork we often find in other Elit pieces. I also really liked the colors and the font that was used throughout the piece.

After trying to click on around the website, I decided to go for the numbers in the left top corner to start my journey from there.

As the first two pages of the story had no music or sounds in the background that changed when I started the third page. The (at least to me) classical sound of a night out in the country with chirping crickets, frogs and owls gave a nice ring to the first few slides and matched the atmosphere that was created by the blue-colored story. The chirping was soon accompanied by the sound of a pipe but these sounds just lasted another few slides until they were replaced by a more dooming sound.

While the nature-sounds as well as the sound of the pipe fit perfectly with the blue of the first half of the slides of the third page, the dooming sound matches the red-colored background as well as the images we see in the second half of the slides – besides it foreshadows what happened to the rats that disappeared in the story.

Navigation

Navigating through Hobo Lobo was really simple – the numbers in the upper left corner made it easy to go through the whole story in one sitting without any interruption. A nice little detail that I realized was the blurring of the numbers after you moved to the next slide, so I always knew exactly how far I had explored the piece. As the different slides are not presented in a full screen mode the text (or lexia) fits perfectly beneath each slide; the texts are usually quite short so they fit on the screen – and most of them do not need any scrolling down to be fully read.

The fact that the whole piece is navigated through side scrolling as well as a lot of elements in the story made me think of a pop-up book.

In the end …

Especially the typography o the whole piece reminded me of old tales such as “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. Also, the artwork has a classical touch and immediately made me think of the pictures one can find in old fairytale books.
Reading the story, I could clearly see how Hobo Lobo was influenced by “The Pied Piper” and I really liked the sarcastic tone of the piece.


Queens Quest 7

This one spoke to me on so many levels!

Being of the generation before gaming was what it has become today, my love for computer games lay in the realms of the classic adventure game genre. I actually learned English by myself playing Sierra On-Line titles like Space Quest, Police Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and of course the King’s Quest series, which the title of today’s Edit piece plays on.

In the beginning, these games purely relied on text commands like “Open door”, “Pick up gem”, “Look around” combined with the arrow keys to move around and interact with the surroundings. After each iteration the graphics improved, and from the third, or fourth iteration in all the series they became pure point-and-click games instead, which was one of the most popular game genres at the time. Game series like Monkey Island, Indiana Jones, Simon The Sorcerer, Gobliins, Broken Sword and so many more in addition to the Sierra On-Line ones, are to me what the word computer game really means. Although, when the technology evolved and the demand for 3d games became the norm, these games slowly disappeared as the masses no longer wanted the old fashioned, no-skills-needed, two dimensional adventures, but craved the Warcrafts and Starcrafts of this world, and their evolvements. Today, gaming is a multi-billion industry – even turned sports! And these old classics no longer qualifies as games in some communities…

Queens Quest 7

…is a reaction to this. It borrows so many elements from the old classics, that it warmed my nostalgic heart. Although this is a hyperfiction story, it still captures the atmosphere of the old Sierra and Lucasart games with its absurd and ridiculous humour. But the main story is the one taking a stance against the new generation of gamers not aknowledging the classics as real games.

WhenI started Queens Quest 7 I sort of expected it to be like the old King’s Quest series, with the 8bit graphics and text commands, although realizing quickly this was a hyperfiction piece I didn’t mind it at all. First off it seemed like any other King’s Quest story, waking up in your chambers and getting a description of what you surroundings are, but then, when you move outside of the chambers and explore further, you realize you are not in a medieval narrative, but rather in a post modern environment aboard a space ship orbiting a planet called Video Games. When exploring the ship and talking to others aboard, you get, in addition to a lot of references to old adventures in both King’s Quest and Monkey Island, enough information to realize that the planet Video Games is really a reference to video games as a phenomenon and a concept, and that they, as old games,  are no longer welcome back there even though they were there first. This is obviously a direct play on gamer-gate that occurred a couple of years ago where gaming communities all over the world started to negate these type of game genres as not games. It got kind of out of control with a lot of harassment and even death threats, when trying to rid their communities of the non-worthy.

This piece of elit looks at this situation from the view of the classical games itself, and portrays it as an actual character in an environment close to the classic genre. On the planet Video Games the Masaganerds (gamers) rule, and there is no longer a place for the classics. However, as you proceed in the story you go through a narrative where you kind of fight for your place in the universe, not really fitting in in any other genres, and ultimately are faced with the options of “Destroying Video Games, and rebuilding it from the ground”, or “Inevitably let it destroy itself”.

Elit, or game?

The eternal question within the realm of electronic literature seems to be “where is the line between it being electronic literature or a game” to me, lies around these old classics. But to me, like the masaganerds of this piece, why can’t it sometimes be both? It seems to me that both media have many of the same goals, and neither of them are games nor literature in the conventional way anyway… But I’d have a good story told to me through a screen any day, wether it be electronic literature or a video game 🙂

This was AWESOME

As I opened with, this one really hit home on so many levels. It made me long for the time I spent hours upon hours on these games, woke up the joy of playing a video game, which has been dormant for years, and urged me to download several of the old titles. I don’t know about you others, but me being of that generation really hope this type of game will re-emerge, and maybe more iterations of the old series will come? I see that many of these have been revamped and republished on platforms like iOS and Wii, and the Broken Sword series even got a fifth iteration with the good old fashioned 2D graphics after one incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. That is proof that there are more out there like me, and thank you for writing this awesome piece of elit!

Here are some old titles you should check out:

Space Quest I-VI
King’s Quest I-VII
Police Quest I-IV
Leisure suit Larry I-VII
The Secret ofMonkey Island
Monkey Island 2: LeChucks Revenge
The Curse of Monkey Island
Escape from Monkey Island
Tales from Monkey Island
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Gobliins 1-4
Simon the Sorcerer 1 &2
Touche: Adventure of the 5th Musketeer
Broken Sword 1-5
Beneath a Steel Sky
Lure of the Temptress

…and so many more…

Dannyboy out


Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

Blog #2: Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

I’ve chosen to write about Hobo Lobo of Hamelin for my second blog in Electronic Literature. At the start of this piece I found myself extremely bewildered. I wasn’t sure what you click or what to not click. The webpage looked at first sight to be very promising, and I suspect that exactly that is why I suspected that I was not supposed to click anything (which, when looking back at it, sort of goes against the entire premise of hypetext).

I personally found the picture-book style to be extremely enticing as I love a good tribute made to the medias of the past. But that is just about where the nod back to the collective childhood ends as the text reads “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-gearing wholesome people.” Right off the bat the text lets us in on it’s angle; this isn’t your run-of-the-mill picture-book story.

I couldn’t help but smile once I noticed that the jovial music was coming closer with the turn of each now page. It is such a small addition to the piece, yet it made all the difference in my experience of reading through it. The merry music paints the picture of something festive and sociable happening right around the corner. An allusive hint at some joyful event taking place.

But this feeling of merriness changed right quick once you start to recognize the literature that most likely inspired the story, “Pied Piper of Hamelin”. I had no previous recollection of the name “Hamelin”, so the similarity was lost on me until I clicked the “10”-button on page 3 and the eerie and unsettling music started playing.

At the “11”-button on page 3 the mood and music changes abruptly and we’re introduced to the silent horror of an unspoken massacre. The music remains eerie and unnerving, but the text is completely gone—the only thing we’re left with is a series of illustrations which tells of the explicit killing that is taking place, but without saying anything. It’s clever in the sense that although children viewing this would probably realize that something is terribly wrong, they probably couldn’t tell exactly what’s happened, but most adult could because the implication is that strong—put together with the fact that most adults would be able to recognize the source material at this point.

There is clearly a deal of political connotations and implications in this piece as there were several terms thrown at us whenever the talk-show parts happened.

And what was that part about the Mayor standing in his office naked and smeared in blood all over his body and face? And did anyone else notice the border between button “2” and “3”? It was filled with what looked like guts that was being used as isolation between the walls separating the Mayor’s office and the waiting room. I’m suspected that it is supposed to be a callback to the killing of the rats—but I’m not sure why. I mean, yeah, the two conspired to rid the town of the “rat” problem, and they went through with it, but was that supposed to be the main point of the piece? And why? I don’t know—but it was weird. Seeing the Mayor naked all of a sudden threw me off the piece more than it absorbed me.

In conclusion, I thought the piece was innovative with its usage of a traditional medium to tell its story in such a modern setting. The piece was easy to read through—except for my personal hiccups in the beginning with how to navigate—and quickly teaches the reader how to read the e-lit.

—Robert