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


On “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin”

Out of all four E-Lit pieces I had the choice to write about for this week’s blog, “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” sold me based on name and the fact that I didn’t have to download anything/take up computer space (I wonder if this prospect deters others from fuller exploration of pieces such as  “Dwarf Fortress”).

The “Hobo Lobo” site looks old, and besides the gorgeous color choices it’s not the most visually appealing (the hand drawn illustrations are awesome, but the juxtaposition with font choice is strange). This ends up not being as much of a problem when you’re into the story, but at first it’s a little off putting.

Clicking the button marked “psst” at the top of the page (because of course you’re going to click it!) leads you right to the author’s website. Nice job controlling site traffic, Stevan Zivadinovic.

Because the site is old, it takes a while to load. Illustrations show up layer by layer instead of all at once, offering a neat little peek into Zivadinovic’s creative process. Because the illustrations were hand drawn I often forgot about the importance of searching them for easter eggs. When I did look, I found a number of fun sound effects (a croak when you click the frog and so forth).

What really sold me (upon first read(?) through) was the sixth page. A slow procession of hand drawn characters move across a landscape that spans four pages of its own. The colors are cozy and, although you have to wait a while to see the whole shebang and might be tempted to click through, the wait is worth it. And then … you’re taken out of the piece’s world and into a page of credits and author notes.

To be honest, after my first go through I had no idea what I’d just seen. Where was the story besides a few cute drawings? Deciding to begin again, I realized that you have to SCROLL HORIZONTALLY to see more. There is a story to follow, complete with sounds and images and text content. Should there be an instruction page or should I just look harder?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about e-lit thus far, one look is never ever enough.

Also, the night/outdoor drawings to red collage panel is GORGEOUS. I’ve never seen something like that on a computer, just at art fairs with magazine collages.

 


Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

Just from looking at the first page of hobo lobo, I am intrigued. The storybook feeling with text that starts with “Once upon a time” and a colorful picture at top – very cool. We get introduced to the story with the text: “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-fearing wholesome people”.

On the top of the page you can see numbers, 1, 2, 3, 4… So I clicked on “2”: The picture change and a new text pops up. The image doesn’t just change like it would if you scroll thru pictures on your phone, It slides from one picture to another by things popping up and moving – soo cool and interesting, i can’t wait to see what comes next!

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 22.22.13

At the third text I realize that this story isn’t for children – Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 22.32.35 This is going to be interesting!

I go to the next page and the page after that, I realize the story is about a mayor who is nervous about a election. He goes to a psychic, and what i really liked there is that the round glass ball that she looks into to see his future, it was moving stuff around inside it – almost like fireworks.

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 22.35.07.png

After that, we I see “page 2”, so I clicked on it, a new chapter unfolds…

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 22.42.50

“One day, a stranger came to town” 

Lets see what this stranger is up to. He opens up a shop in the market. He´s Hobo lobo! I forgot to mention the rat problem, this is what the mayor is mostly concerned about. And he goes to hobo lobo to try and get some help from him.

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 23.16.17(And I get more and more impressed by all the images/drawings!! I love how detailed and cool they are.. also the colors use, it set a certain mood to the whole story)

A new chapter unfolds.. and sound appears, grasshoppers and birds in the background at night – I feel like I´m in the story. In the beginning of this chapter it doesn’t have text, only pictures – and the further we get, a harmonica starts to play louder and louder, I really enjoy this chapter.

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 23.25.59.pngSuddenly the colors change from blue at night to red, and the pictures get creepy.. next chapter..

“Days went by and Hamelin was free from rats.” So.. Hobo Lobo solved the problem??, but the mayor took all the credit?? It seems like that. “A week went by and Hamelin was still rat-free. The mayor wasn’t coming by to pay the Lobo, so Lobo called the mayors’ office”

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 23.31.59

The mayor and Hobo lobo is not on good terms. He refuses to pay Hobo, and throws him out on the street when he tries to talk to him. Hobo sues the mayor and the city government. It doesn’t go well….

“The judge demanded to see the contract in question and was not satisfied with the explanation that it was a verbal agreement. Lobo was deemed in contempt of the court for bringing up a frivolous suit.

What’s more, the mayor countersued the Lobo for blackmail and extortion and won—now he owed a large damage sum and the cost of two trials”

we then see the mayor is getting interviewed on a radio show… and on chapter 7…

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 23.39.43

…the story ends..

.. music starts, and people walk in a line..

Skjermbilde 2017-09-10 kl. 23.40.50

And when you click on “more to come”, we get this information:

Stats: Updates happen on average every 23.3 days. Recently they’ve happened 72.3 days apart. Last update happened 1137.2 days ago… Ahem, I am probably very sorry stuff is late. I suspect I may have a good reason for it. Twitter or Tumblr may know more… Also, check out stats over time.

Its a long time since the last update… but! I really enjoyed this story. I loved the pictures, I loved the music, it didn’t get boring at all, some stories I just want to skip everything – but not in this case. I wanted to see and read everything! I loved it!


II. Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

The second piece I have decided to write about is the “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin”. A little disclaimer first: I was not able to listen to the music when I first encountered the piece. So, this is a feedback on the visuals, the story and it’s general workings – I will try to read it with the music before class if I can.

The general aesthetic of this piece is amazing. When you first open the site, it just looks like a pretty picture-book-like illustration, but when you interact with it, it turns out to be so much more than that. The author has cleverly constructed a multi-layered piece that makes use of the new possibilities of digital art while still playing on the conventions of classic literature. It is easy to navigate and because it works from left to right, it feels like reading a picture book. Also, the effect of cut-out paper seems to be a vital part of the visuals. What struck me was the colour scheme: the contrasts were so well set and changed according to the narrative. This was not just pretty, but changed the whole experience of the story and added a new way of perceiving the narratological structure. For example, when the green changes into red, the connotation of violence and blood is obvious. And on page 5, the two colours are combined to mark the point where the Lobo’s attitude towards the mayor changes and he decides to take revenge. The colours subconciously influence the way we read the story and the way in which we generate meaning.

The most interesting question to me was: why is it so witty and funny? I think the author achieves this through two things. First, it is a clever mix between old and new. The story is so well-known that it serves as common ground for the reader and the author so that puns and references work without having to establish them first within the story.  Interestingly, it still works as a fairy tale – it’s still “once upon a time” and probably “in a land far away”, even though people have TVs, newspapers and IKEA furniture. However, like “Redridinghood”, it calls the clear black-and-white distinction between good and evil into question that traditional fairy tales rely on. This leads me to the second point: it has a very clear political message. The “progressive Fascist-Calvinist coalition” that is in power turns out to be a dictatorship that has a part of it’s population assassinated. However, this is not really surprising – after all, the mayor is literally a Dick Mayor. This piece is a wonderful and clever tale about the importance of democracy, especially in a time where right-wing populism is becoming increasingly popular.


#2 The Day Glitter Saved the World

This weeks blog post is about the elit piece/game Qiung’s Quest VII: The Death of Videogames. I know very little to nothing about video games, but I do know a lot about not fitting into the box “girl” – according to other people that is.

Quing’s Quest VII shows the ridiculousness of gender norms. I think Dietrich Squinkifer adresses something everyone can relate to such as not feeling like they belong or having their “elders” telling them they did something wrong. So even though the piece tells a story of gender equality or feminism, people who might not see themselves as someone who fights for these particular matters, still can relate to the overlining aspects of the story.

As a hypertext fiction the reader (who is also the main character) gets choices of what they want to do throughout the story. I think the main one is the choice of what You will do to your home Videogames once you’ve fought of the Gamer Police, the options are to: Save Videogames, Destroy Videogames og Get the helle away from Videogames. I think this is a comment from the author, that the reader have to make a choice on how to solve the problems caused by Gamergate (or in general problems with inequality). It is not an easy question to answe and in the end the only options are to destroy Videogames or let it destroy itself, it is to late to save what once was.

In the story language is used to emphasize the meaning of the text. The main vessel is The Social Justice Warrior, which is also what is used to eventually destroy Videogames (in my version anyway). There is really no question what the text is attempting, social justice for everyone, whether they see themselves as them, she or he. The “bad guys” of the stories are Misogynerds, a wordplay that I think adresses something in the real world. I think the word “nerd” is taken more as an insult, than the word misogynist (even though [I think] it should be the other way around), so the combination is great, especially when you keep the intended audience in mind.

The music that is used for the different parts of the story matches the contens of the pages very nicely. I think it’s a funny that some of the music is made by people in the LGBTQ-community, it underlines the main theme of the text.

Overall I very much enjoyed this piece of elit, everything from language to music to the visuals of the piece emphasizes its points. I think it is great to use humor as a weapon. This is a low-key way of letting people know you think they are wrong or mistreating more than half of the Worlds population.

On a final note I think we should all just appreciate for a minute how DEATH BY GLITTER would be the worst nightmare of toxic masculinity, and isn’t that just the perfect way for it to go?

 

Read more about Quing’s Quest VII  here: http://collection.eliterature.org/3/work.html?work=quings-quest-vii

 


The death of videogames

The news are all over. Videogames are no more, they belong to the past. Now, the Earth and all its inhabitants wonder – what do I do with all my newfound free-time?

Now, just disregard what is written above and relax. Breathe. No need to call emergency services.

Video games are still a thing. However, in the electronic literature work of “Quing’s Quest VII – the death of videogames” well, videogames do die. Possibly not in the sense you imagine – as in this work videogames is a planet which has been invaded.

To discover and explore “Quing’s Quest VII” for yourself, the work can be found here:
http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/quings-quest-vii/index.html

The character the reader takes control of, was born on the planet of videogames – but had to escape after the invasion. Now our character is miserable and wants to go back. However, this is not as easy as one might think. Misogynerds have taken over the planet. Can it be rescued? Probably not. Our main character and their friend (or should I say partner?) decides to try anyway.

I never thought peeling an orange would be a reason to get arrested, but here we go. Bad fashion sense? Well, some people want a fashion police… Playing minigolf in an office building? I would guess many people do that. Shouting at trees? Ok, this is strange. Now let us try to avoid being arrested, despite all our crimes (I mean, we did steal a spacecraft, so I guess we do deserve prison-time after all…)

After inserting countless discs (the last one had a number way past 20 – and I actually caught myself wondering if a video game ever was released with so many discs? Yeah I doubt it) and trying countless ways of escaping, an epic dance session ends up saving our characters from the Misogynerds police, but lose their home planet for ever. A happy ending? Bittersweet, I would say. But at least the good guys won… Unless you prefer the bad guys. Then I guess the ending of the story is rather a bad one – but for me it was bittersweet.

Did I like “Quing’s Quest VII – the death of videogames”? Yes, I did. Nostalgia, choosing my path and videogames are all things I enjoy. At times, the layout felt a bit over the top – but nothing that the fun story could not overshadow.

I especially liked the references to older videogames like Monkey Island, and the mention of the Konami code. I remember as a child, playing my good old tv games and having to type this kind of code either as a cheat or just to gain access to the level where I last left off. Haha, I think a few years ago, this also worked on Facebook to produce some colorful circles or whatever? I cannot remember exactly, but I think some kind of Konami was involved in the circles appearing.

The game also refers to other 80s and 90s stuff, for example in the dancing part where it mentions Macarena “Hey Macarena!”… And now that that song is stuck in our heads for a couple of days, let us finish the adventure. Shortly summarized: our home planet dies, and we reach the end of the story.

I cannot say anything confused me about this work, but I kind of wish we would have gotten a tiny bit more background information. Also I wonder if Quing is the name of our main character, and/or if the character is a king? I did not get the feeling that the character fits the personality of a king, but if their home planet is named videogames then who knows? Aside from that, I enjoyed this work very much. Even though we were lead in a certain direction, I still got the feeling of choosing my own path – which is good in my opinion.

“Quing’s Quest VII” deals with themes like loss, sadness and hope with a fun and entertaining twist – and adding a dash of nostalgia to it all while having a sci-fi theme. All in all, I would really recommend people to check it out.

Is it a game? A work of fiction? A digital sci-fi book? A story? A good mix of them all. It may not feel much like a game, but in a sense it is.

This piece of electronic literature reminded me of a game I played when I was younger. A browser game, consisting purely of text and commands – I believe the name was “You Find Yourself In A Room” and I had lots of fun with it despite the game telling me what an idiot I was for being human and not a machine. A google-search tells me this game is still online and playable. Great.

I think that, even though the story is wrapped in a sci-fi packaging, there is talent needed to create a story where loss and despair are the main topics – yet make it entertaining and even funny to discover. I think, with all the sad events taking place in our world, that the demand for this genre will continue growing. The way of turning sad themes into a fun adventure is beautiful!

And with that, I consider my poetic sign-off complete. I am kinda surprised I did one for this blogpost as well, I was not quite expecting to be able to do that considering the fun atmosphere of “Quing’s Quest VII”.

Be prepared for another blogpost soon!
Oh, and thanks for reading.

 


Quings Quest VII: The Death of Video Games

Quings Quest VII is a game made by Dietrich Squinkifer in 2014. It was presented this week in elitclass and as such I was fairly familiar with the work before trying it out for myself for this week’s blog. I also took the time to read up on the work on the eliterature collection volume 3 beforehand as I wanted a clearer understanding as to why the game was made. According to the author statement, the game was made to express his frustrations as a result of the tense situations surrounding Gamergate, and how divided the gaming community became in their endless arguments of what video games should or shouldn’t contain. As such the game is both a nod to old school games while containing everything that supposedly ruins video games, making it something of a playful parody.

To navigate the piece you have to click on links found throughout the game’s text, making it a mixture between an old-school text-adventure and a hypertext piece of e-literature. You also have a lot of freedom of choice when it comes to trying out different links. Some of them let you move around, or offers additional background story, or humorous anecdotes, but most are not necessary to finish the game. To me that gives the game some replayability, should you feel inclined to learn everything, but without making you feel like you miss out on too much if you don’t. The overall story itself is fairly linear, and you don’t always have the freedom of turning back so the length of a playthrough can therefore vary a bit.

Aside from the text, there is the game’s logo on the title screen as well as a starry background that goes with the space setting. Otherwise there are no other visuals, leaving you to use your imagination as one would with text-adventure games back in the day. There is also music and the occasional sound effect accompanying a screen to set a certain mood, be it relaxing, funny or tense.

Overall it is a very simple piece to navigate, and even if you miss out on some text you will still have a good understanding of the story. The story itself is essentially the main character and their genderfluid compatriot lamenting how the misogynerds invaded their home planet ‘Videogames’ and decided for everyone else what was supposed to be right. There’s also the character Frankie, who could represent those who didn’t necessarily directly side with anyone in the conflict, but did so indirectly by not voicing their opposition as they benefited from one side anyway.

While there are two different endings, they have a similar feel to them. The first has you blowing up what remains of the home planet, so that a new one can regrow, hopefully as a better place than it was before; or leaving the world behind to collapse in on itself while searching for a new home. It paints a somewhat hopeless picture of how things must’ve felt at the time, but also a hopeful outlook that maybe when things blow over something good will come of it. I thought it was a pretty amusing game, and I quite enjoyed the retro style and references found within.


The hobo lobo of hamelin

this is my review of the hobo lobo of hamelin, and then some rambling about dwarf fortress:

What got my attention.

What first attracted me to the hobo lobo, was the aesthetic, the way the style blended 2D and 3D like effects without using 3D reminded me of Darkest Dungeon. (DD is a 2D game with this action shot like animation, where the animation is only a few frames, the way its drawn and animated makes it feel very alive and engaging.)

Darkest Dungeon example gif

And it almost had the look of a digital incarnation of a popup book. But as I got further into the hobo lobo I found the story engaging and the imagery very much to my liking, and the use of sound later in the pages works really well.

The hobo lobo is inspired by the story of pied piper, if you’re not familiar with the story, pied piper is a story about a rat catcher named pied piper, who was hired to remove the rats from a town called Hamelin. He was offered 1000guilders for the job, then the mayor stiffed him om the reward money, the pied piper then uses his magic pipe to lure all the children away, here some versions diverge. In some versions, the pied piper kills the children (either drowning or luring them into a cave), and in others he leads them away to a better land. This is clearly the basis of the hobo lobo. But the hobo lobo is not simply a retelling of the pied piper, even with some of the same elements, the narrative has changed.

 

What is the hobo lobo like, and what the navigation is like.

The hobo lobo is a side-scrolling visual novel. That’s not entirely descriptive enough, when you enter the hobo lobo, there is a field in the middle of the screen, about 1 third of the screen, with the visuals, the bottom half of the screen is reserved for the text, or lexias.

You can navigate on the top, by pressing the numbers, and that gives a floating navigation, that passes where you are going and then goes a bit back, a very nice effect that brings out the 2D depth of the visual aspect. If the numbers navigation not had this effect, you could have missed the very nice animation effects of the piece. The other way of navigation is simply using the arrow keys, you can go back and forwards as you wish.

Leonardo Flores noted that the use of the infinite canvas in the visual style to create the depth, and using the depth to create new things to find at every angle. And I think that’s the reason I like to use the arrow keys, to be able to look back at the scene, see what I missed.

In the comic podcast, “the comics alternative podcast”, they mention that the hobo lobo is not really accessible on other devices than desktop, I mean you can see it on mobile or a pad device, but it’s not recommended or any good. The scrolling effects and the depth of the piece is lost on a mobile device, and you have to scroll down to read all the time. This was something I had not considered, when reading it on desktop, they also point out that the hobo lobo is not something that would work printed out, the depth and the scrolling effect would be lost on paper. The consideration of where, how and what devices a piece works on is something to consider when looking deeper into a piece.

Hashtagoctothorpe is a blog on WordPress, its written by a creative writing student at the University of North Florida, and they had some sharp observations on the literary references in the hobo lobo.
The homages to different literary works was not as obvious to me, but after reading the blogpost I had (yet) another look at the  hobo lobo, and I discovered, if not new meaning, then a new angle to view the hobo lobo. I especially like the line “This was noticed” now, after Hashtagoctothorpe pointed out its pointient placement. I did pause at the image of the boy kicking a ball against a wall, but it was only after a second look at the hobo lobo, and the line “This was noticed”, did I catch the meaning.

Genre.

As far as genre is concerned, the hobo lobo can be different things, it’s kind of a interactive fiction. And there is no real choices in the piece, but you have the control of the pacing (except the last page). And you are left up to yourself to discover the secrets of the story, but as there is no choices, it’s not a full-fledged interactive fiction piece, in my opinion. It’s also much like a digitized poetry, as many of the lines are poetic, and many of them are stabs, or references to other texts and poetry. And it is more like epoetry than anything else, but I have to mention that many people talking about the hobo lobo, mentioned that it was like a digital comic, where the style and the imagery is something out of a comic, but the way it uses digital tools, i.e. the depth and the sound, is wholly digital and unlike comics. Still I think there is something to consider, would electronic comics be a good genre to include in the electronic literature world? could electronic comics be something that we see more of? Even in the mainstream pop culture world? I would read them, that I know.

Final thoughts.

Damn I like this piece, what first attracted me to the hobo lobo was the aesthetic, and after looking at the hobo lobo several times it’s still the best thing about it for me. Now the political overtones of the piece are really noticeable, and I like the way it is done, the boy not finding someone to play ball with, the streets being quiet, the mood changing. This reflects on the meaning of the original pied piper, where evil deeds are seldom rewarding, but further than that, problems in the world seldom have an easy solution.

i would wholeheartedly encourage you to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

Dwarf fortress and games as elit.

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Now I am not going to go on and on about what should be the definition of games and electronic literature, even though it’s a good debate. There is something else I would like to bring up for discussion, if dwarf fortress is electronic literature (and I think it is) then what other games are as well, and is the player the writer of these works?

What is dwarf fortress?

Dwarf fortress is a game created by Tarn Adams and Zach Adams, the work began in 2002, and the first alfa of the game released in 2006, the game is completely free. Dwarf fortress is a simulation game, and it utilizes ascii art as the graphics, ascii code represent text in computers, but is used as the graphics for the game. Here are two pictures, the first the original, second, the game with a graphics pack (aka a mod)

orginal dfmodded df

Now it’s not 100% clear to me from reading the description in the elit collection, why dwarf fortress is in the collection. The possible reasons are not mutually exclusive.

One, when you create a world in dwarf fortress the game simulates a legend of the world, who exists, what they do, who is going to war, who won. It does this year by year, until the year you specified. Now this creates a story which is random, and reacting to other random things that happen, and you can read what happened in what is called a legends reader, or discover it by meeting races and people in game. This in itself can be electronic literature, the number of different things that can happen is huge, and you can simulate a thousand years, and then read about all the individual people that lived for those thousand years.

Two, it can be all that, and what you as a player ends up changing as you play, when you play you influence the story of the world, and you can change what could have happened.

Three, it’s the story’s that you as a player experience in this world that has been randomly generated, and the ways you deal with challenges and the random things that happen.

Speculation.

Now the interesting question here, is does the player create the story? We have discussed the part of the user in class before, when someone reads electronic literature, do you create when you interact with it or is it the work that is. Does my reading of a work that has choices change the story, or is it the work that does the work?

Does this change in a game like dwarf fortress? Does all the random generation, and player agency change that to be a player writing a story, not necessary for anyone else, but for himself.

If you would agree with me that the third option here is not that farfetched, could other simulation games, where the player changes so much that two games are never the same, and the worlds cannot be recreated, could this also be electronic literature?

I know that this is further into the realm of speculation, and I don’t want to press an argument based on too many what ifs, but I challenge you to play a game of civilization, dwarf fortress or rimworld, see what stories you can create.

Here is a link to someone reading a player story, I found it to be really interesting.

And here is a link to a video discussing the stories in dwarf fortress, and the player creating them.


Thoughts on a great week in #elitclass

We kicked off our #elit discussion earlier in the week with three very different #elit pieces from the first volume (-texts that certainly represent the vast diversity of the field).  We also “warmed up” our critical acumen for electronic literature in general by doing a few “walkthrough” discussions of these pieces.

The first up was Donna Leishman’s RedRidinghood.  This interactive narrative is a provocative re-interpretation of the well known French fairytale, and it invokes an ominous, dark, mysterious, and decidedly adult tone.  With jazzy, contemporary background music, an urban setting, the highly stylized comic imagery of this piece announces itself as a clear “re-working” of a classic.  It challenges the assumptions which stem from reading/knowing this age-old children’s tale.  This version seems to unfold in three parts, beginning with a city highrise location.  The second part of the text covers the forest/meadow interlude. Finally the third section of this narrative takes place upon arrival at “Grandma’s house”.  The text is interactive throughout, the reader is choosing outcomes through a variety of link options.  The reader is forced to seek for hard-to-come-by links which are for the most part hidden.  There are definitely elements to discover that are not easily noticed (including a revealing and dark diary which provides insight into Redridinghood’s psyche).  The necessary “active search” for links (that are veiled from reader’s immediate access) seems to suggest an emphasis on all things “hidden”.  Things are not what they seem.  There is more than meets the eye.  There are dark realities that exist beyond the surface.  This is most definitely a psychological piece, charged with frightening twists and uncanny discoveries.  Was Redridinghood violated?  Or was she a complicit agent in her own adulteration?  The text provides complicated layers which render this question difficult to answer.  This story seems to insist that there is indeed more than meets the eye at first.

I also asked all of you to read read both Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky and Soliloquy from Electronic Literature Collection Vol.  1.  I thought that by reading these e-lit texts they would further deepen our initial familiarity with the potential of Electronic Literature.  I also felt that by considering these texts together in a comparative light, we would be able to further hone our analytical skills regarding Electronic Literature.

I am including here my own brief analysis of these two texts (published in ELMCIP), in order to extend what we able to say by the close of class:

Subjectivity and Language in Sharif Ezzat’s “Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” & Kenneth Goldsmith’s “Soliloquy”

By Mia Zamora, PhD

“Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” is a flash-hypertext poem.  Elegant and ethereal, the screen is a dark night sky with a constellation of stars that become the access point for further poetic lexia.  Readers can explore the sky of interconnected poems at random.  There is an introductory voice-over poem in Arabic (with translation on screen in English).  The text is laced with ambient sounds of wind-chimes, offering the effect of a recollection of a distant place, a place of purity/simplicity, perhaps the “village” of one’s origin.  The tone of the text is soothing, calming, and dreamlike.  This lovely piece includes a reflective narrative voice who repeats “I am full of stories”, perhaps reminding the reader of that universal aspect of our human condition: that we are all “full of stories” – we are all a small universe within the larger universe.  In this piece, subjectivity through words is achieved in the most traditional sense.  There is a clear and stable “I” that is full of stories.  That subject is established through his many stories which manifest in centered verse in the middle of the screen when clicking on a glimmering constellation.  The reader wanders through the cosmos with the mouse, hovering on certain stars to reveal a variety of poetic verse which represent the texture of certain lives. “Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” reminds us that our subjectivity is only apprehendable through narration, through words, through stories past on through time.  In a subtle and wistful way, this text traverses an essential tension that is a part of the human experience.  It prompts us to think about the ways in which we are inherently connected in both time and space, as well as the sting of our profound singularity.

Subjectivity is grappled with in different but equally poignant ways in the Kenneth Goldmith’s “Soliloquy”.  Goldsmith is reflective of his “bound” subjectivity through expendable words.  In exploring this idea, he documents of every word he utters during the week of April 15-21, 1996, from the moment he woke up that Monday morning to the moment he went to sleep on Sunday night.  “Soliloquy” is a clever kind of provocation, as it is a web version-of a book edition-of a gallery installation. It is a week’s worth of the artist’s spoken language captured in a veiled database.  The reader opens the text by clicking on the prologue quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein: “Don’t, for heaven’s sake be afraid of talking nonsense!  But you must pay attention to your nonsense.”  By clicking on the quote you gain access to his web catalogue of a week’s worth of spoken words, all in chronological order, but what is striking upon entering the text is the encounter of the blank screen of white.  In order to reveal his lost words, you must mouse over the screen and a sentence of the carefully transcribed lexia appears (and disappears) as soon as the mouse moves on.  The provocation is in the transient disposal of our words, as well as the utter banality of so much of what we say. Words are lost to the world as quickly as they are uttered, and what is left is like an empty canvas with a haunting afterlife.  Words are rendered in “Soliloquy” like fleeting ghosts or traces that can be glimpsed but not captured.   The title of the piece lends further comment, with it’s dramatic allusion to the inner life as a kind of performance.

Both of these significant Electronic Literature texts offer us a glimpse of the way that words shape our sense of selves and our place in the world.  The affordances of the digital medium pay particular homage to the thematic concerns and poetics of these two works of art.  While Ezzat employs traditional storytelling constructs to assert a timeless connection to narrative and memory, Goldsmith provokes us to consider the self consumed and disposal aspects of the words we use.  Although the tone of these two elit texts are very different, they each elicit a deeper reflection about the dynamic world of words that shapes our human subjectivity. ______________

Congrats Fredrik on successfully kicking off your review presentations with insight.  I think your choice of Quing’s Quest VII was a fun one,  and it was a good way to start thinking about the relationship between games, elit, and communities of practice.  This was a twine made game with a quirky nostalgic soundtrack.  A parody that playfully address the subculture(s) of gaming, Quing’s Quest VII is a reversal of power fantasy in which creative non-conformists and non-“misogynerds” thrive by escaping and relaxing a bit.  Through his walkthrough and direction of discussion, Frederik spurned and extended reflection on the identity politics found in games, and in the community of players that form around them.

What is up for next week?

Please read Hobo Lobo of Hamelin and Dwarf Fortress. Daniel Klaussen will start our week with a presentation on this/these text(s).  I really look forward to hearing what he has to say about the work.

Please blog about one of these two texts, or the two texts Fredrik claimed interest in – Quing’s Quest VII, or also The Bubble Bath.

-And remember  –  keep up with the #elitclass twitter feed and tweet with our hashtag.

God helg,

Dr. Zamora