All posts by findingyourstories

Galatea + update on my own elit

Galatea


Galatea by Emily Short is a piece of elit consisting of text only. The piece looks like a word document of some sort, where you type in commands for the main character to decide what he should do. There are many possible commands, and there is possible to see a list of them all if you are in doubt of what to do.

The story consists of our main character, a man who is reviewing an exhibition of statues. It appears one of the statues breathe, move and is able to speak. 

In Galatea the conversation between the man and the statue is explored. Trough the commands, the reader decides what the man should think about or say to the statue. There are many conversation topics to choose from, but many of them seem to be about the statue and how it came alive, the man who carved it, or mythology. In a way, the topics seem connected to each other. Every conversation topic is also possible to just think about. The third thing we can do is to ask her to turn towards the man or for the man to touch the statue (for example her hair or shoulder). There is also the option of walking away from her, particularly in the beginning before they get to talk much to each other, but this ends the story. If one starts over, the statue will remember you walked away the last time (and thank you for not doing it again if you choose to stay and talk to it).

Every command seems to have a preset response or outcome. Nothing seems to be at random here. This means that though there are a long list of available commands, the outcome is limited. The whole elit is also centered around the man’s conversation with the statue, so when the conversation ends the elit also ends.

I really like the concept of Galatea, and it does feel like a text-based game in some ways – which I liked. However, everything feels very limited because of how the whole story consists of one conversation, you have a pre-made list of possible actions which all only seem to have one response.

The way the elit is made out I think only makes it more clear how limited the story and its outcomes are. And although I really, really like the way it looks and how the reader interacts with it almost like it is a text-based game… I am unsure of how much I actually liked the elit itself. All in all though, it is worth checking out.

 

 

Update on the development of my own elit


The second half of my blogpost will be an update on how I am progressing with my own elit. The last week I have been working on expanding the story and putting it into inklewriter, as well as mapping out the last part of the story – which I will soon start putting into inklewriter.

When I first started making my own elit I was going for the same story, but with poems only – where random words where clickable instead of giving the reader choices. This would have been much easier for me to create, but would not make as much sense for the reader. This would also have made the piece feel less interactive. Therefore the reader now gets to make choices throughout the story. For every choice made the reader first gets a consequence or event that happens, then a poem that kind of explains the event more in depth before a new choice. If this is the best way of doing it I am not sure, but I have grown to like it.

As this elit describes someone’s life, and lets the reader make choices for the person’s life, I had to start coming up with the actual choices (and what they would lead to). Before even beginning to map out the story I had over 20 little poems written with this elit in mind. Doing it in this order was a bit difficult because I had the poems and partly the order they would go in partly figured out – but not the choices. Some people would say the choices should have been made first because they are the leading element of the story – and I partly agree. But in my elit the poems are almost more important than the choices – and therefore it is fine by me that they were created first.

I still have a few issues with the design of inklewriter and how it works. Though, to be honest, I have not been googling or watching tutorials that could be helpful yet. This is because I at first thought it would be best to finish the story, mapping and choices first and then go back to “polish” everything. Now, on the other hand, as the story has so many branches and paths I kind of wish I would have looked into these issues a bit earlier. The main problem is that I cannot get the four lines of the poem to be on a line of their own without being a paragraph of their own, and as most of the text consists of poems… Let’s just say I need to find a solution as soon as possible.

Aside from the smaller issues, I think I am on schedule and will done with my elit in time. Right now I just need to finish mapping out and make sure I have the poems I need to finish all the paths – and find choices that make sense along with their consequences. I would say that at least half of the story is already in inklewriter though, but we will just have to wait and see where it feels right to end the different paths. A few paths are already done, but most still need more work.

All in all, I am on schedule with my elit piece and enjoy working on it – I feel motivated and inspired. Due to all the paths, working on it now takes more time since I have to go back and see which choices were made for the reader to end up at a certain place for each addition, but I think I can manage.

 

Stay tuned for my next blogpost!

 


Queerskins (+ update on my own elit)

Queerskins
Queerskins is an elit by Illya Szilak from 2012. It is a hypertext story using javascript and having audio. Under tech notes it is stated that the piece works best in the Chrome browser. After the web design classes I had, I know that when creating websites it is important to make sure they work well with all (popular) browsers. Therefore I decided I would use Firefox to see if I would discover any issues.

According to the author’s statement, Queerskins is “partly based on Szilak’s experiences as an HIV physician” and “tells the story of Sebastian, a young gay physician from a rural Missouri Catholic family who dies at the beginning of the epidemic.”

Click here to discover Queerskins on your own: http://www.queerskins.com/#title

As I opened the website, I got the choice between a love story and a novel. Since I do not have the equipment needed for virtual reality, I was left with one choice – the novel.

I open up the novel and see several pictures and movies along with the names of the chapters at the bottom of the screen. The pictures and movies expanded when hovered over, some more than others. Clicking them does nothing, so I clicked on the first chapter at the bottom of the screen instead.

After the page loads, I see several videos, a letter or diary entry and a note stacked on top of each other.  And because I chose another browser than recommended, I had to open it in Chrome to see if things were on top of each other there too. They were. So obviously it was done on purpose. It seems like it does not matter very much which browser is used.

The rest of the story goes by the same way. Each page presents you with images, movies with sound and letters/notes. You drag things around to dig out everything and get information. It kind of feels like you are going through someone’s personal stuff, either their room or just the stuff on their phone or computer. For people who like to explore and be nosy without risking being caught, this way of exploring a piece of elit is kinda fun. Now I am not nosy myself, but sure, at times I can be curious just like anyone else. This way of discovering elit was interesting.

All in all, this elit has many chapters – probably more than most actual books that I have read. And honestly, I cannot say I watched all the movies or read everything. Therefore I cannot claim to know the whole story this elit tells. But I do look forward to learning more about it in class tomorrow.

So, did I like this elit? Kind of. I liked the way it had chapters and movies with sound telling some parts of the story, and diary entries/letters telling other parts. But the layout felt messy to me and made the elit more difficult to discover and making sure you did not miss anything. There might be a good purpose behind it, but considering the amount of chapters it creates a lot of work for the reader if determined to find everything.

The story, from what I gathered, seems interesting and has different themes compared to the other elits I have discovered so far. I like variety, so that is a good thing.
Update on my own piece of elit
I have decided upon several changes since my last blog entry.

First off, I was recommended to try out Inklewriter instead of Twine. I first tried out Twine and found it a bit difficult to figure out, but still manageable. Inklewriter is without a doubt more user-friendly though. Also, it seems the need for coding is not as present with Inklewriter as with Twine. However, I am concerned with the possibilities for customization and design when it comes to Inklewriter. My design skills using css are limited, but I think maybe I would prefer using what css I know instead of using a default design from Inklewriter?

However, Twine’s set-up and way of showing what you have done so far seems very messy and hard to keep track of. With Inklewriter it seems much easier to keep track of what I have done and not. Therefore I think I will end up Inklewriter after all. However, if anyone knows of customization possibilities when it comes to design – do tell! Maybe I just did not watch enough tutorials…

Another change is that I last time wrote that the story would consist of poems with clickable words, where the reader clicks a word within the poem and is taken to a new poem and so on. However, I started thinking and decided that this would not be very interactive and would make the reader feel like their path was chosen more at random than actually making choices. Therefore the story will be made up of poems telling most of the story itself, but with consequences written after the poem and then the reader will get to make a choice on what to do next (usually two choices, but sometimes more and at times only one). This means that the poems still will be a bearing element of the story, but more interactivity. I think the reading experience will be more fun this way, as well.

I have started mapping out the story, and as I have went along I have had to write a few new poems as well as making various versions of a few of them to fit the storyline (depending on which choices are made). I will probably have to write even more poems as I go on with mapping, but for now I have several I have to fit in somewhere. I have also started writing down choices and where in the story they happen, and which consequences will happen with which choice.

I am not done mapping yet, but as I map it out I also get it into Inklewriter so I will not have to do it later at a time where I have started to forget ideas. It also makes it easier for myself to see the progress I make, which I find very inspiring and motivating. Therefore, my elit is an actual elit and in working order – up to a certain point. It is FAR from finished.

Finally, the elit has a working title. It will probably be changed sooner or later, but for now it at least has a name. It might stick, it might not. We will just have to wait and see. I usually do not name things until they are finished, to make sure the name fits well – but a working title could be useful I guess.

Advertisements

Façade and my own elit

Façade is an award-winning AI-based game where your choices of conversation decide whether the married couple (the main characters of the story) stay together or not.

After some downloading issues and whatnot I finally got to install the game. Five minutes later I was ready to dive into the life of the married couple… The loading screen certainly took longer than the promised “no more than 60 seconds” (and the computer I used is not usually slow, so I figured it was the game)… After restarting the game a few times, I still could not actually get to the game-part of the game, so eventually I moved to another computer – this time with a Windows 7 os instead of using a Mac.

This is the first time I have downloaded a piece of elit and I must say I prefer being able to discover them online without having to download it. Though, eventually, about an hour after I would have started discovering the piece if it would have been online, I was finally ready to discover Façade… Well, at least if it was not for the “Decompressing Façade sounds, this may take up to 30 minutes. Thanks for your patience!” thing that popped up just when I thought the game was done installing. And honestly, I was about to run out of patience.

A while later I could finally try Façade, and my expectations were actually rather good despite all the installation issues.

 

The game starts with Trip inviting me over to his and Grace’s apartment at eight pm the same night. (The first time I went through the game I did not have sound on and saw only a black screen, so it was the second time I actually discovered this.)

As I was choosing my character’s name, I could not find anything close to my actual name so I just went with Liz eventually. Trip and Grace starts off the story with an argument, and it is obvious they argue a lot judging by the way they talk to eachother. Trip greets me, then goes to get Grace – and once again they start to argue. I feel like a bother to them already.

The first piece of information I gather is that Grace seems nervous and judging by the answering machine on their phone they just moved into a new place together. It also turns out I was the one to introduce Grace and Trip – ten years ago – during senior year in college. That is interesting. They then start to fight right in front of me, how rude. Without me getting the chance to say or do anything (as I was just observing them), Trip pushes me out of the apartment. Again, how rude.

The second walkthrough went a bit better. At least they served me a drink. But Grace seemed just more miserable as time went by.

When I tell them to stop arguing, Trip keeps asking if I think he is angry… Arguing and angry are two different things, but ok. Also I tried my best to help them, but after listening to them argue and realizing that Trip must be very controlling, that Grace is not happy, and everything… I did not want to save their marriage, honestly.

When I asked Grace if she is happy, she asks if I think she is depressed. So obviously I was having some trouble communicating with these two. I wonder if this is intentional from the game’s side or not.

After all, these two just kept arguing no matter what I did. At least that is how it seemed to me. The second playthrough ended with Trip leaving the apartment saying he wanted a divorce. And after my second walkthrough, I was done listening to people argue for today.

 

Did I like Façade? Kind of. It seemed hopeless to save their marriage even though I read it is possible. Honestly though I did not really want to, they did not really seem good for each other, and Grace seemed really unhappy. In the end Trip actually yelled at me, saying I caused arguing for saying how they were angry and depressed – which I never actually said, so maybe the communication part of the piece was not the best (unless this was intentional).

So this elit, with all the arguing, did not really get me in the best of moods. Though I will probably end up playing it again someday just to see different outcomes. Façade is alright, but far from my favorite.

 

For the second part of this blogpost, I am to talk about what I want to do for my own piece of electronic literature. Since the beginning of the semester I have wanted to create a work of hypertext fiction where one makes choices that influence the story, but had no ideas on themes or topics or anything on how to actually create it.

After a while I discovered Twine, and tried it out for about an hour or so just playing around. And even though I am sure that using html and css all on my own would give me more freedom and ways of customization, I think Twine will be easier and more problem-free. Therefore, unless we are introduced to something even better, I will use Twine to create my hypertext fiction.

My piece of elit will consist of many small poems (usually four lines each) where the reader decides where to go next by clicking a word within the poem and then getting a new poem to read along with a few new clickable words within that poem. At least this is my idea right now. The choices will change the story in some way, and have twists and turns – some more expected than others.

The theme of the piece will be life. The reader will be able to create a life story and decide its path by making choices. The story will start out with the main character as a child, through teenage years, into adulthood and if they choose wisely – elderly.

I have several little poems written already – some which I am happier with than others. I am not sure if all of them will be used, but even if I do use them all I imagine I still need more. I have been writing poems on and off for some years now, but most of them do not fit into my piece of elit – meaning all poems in the piece will be new and written for the elit.

The design I imagine will be simplistic, both because I want the reader to focus on the text and because I think in this setting it will be a nice metaphor when it comes to the topic of life.

I am not sure of how many poems I will need, but I think that will become more clear as I start working on the Twine and decide exactly how the poems are pierced together into stories.

Writing poems that reflect a character of all ages will be a challenge, but I think a fun one. I think child will be difficult since it has been a while since I was a child myself, but maybe elderly will be even more challenging since I have never been one. Nonetheless I look forward to giving it a try.

All in all, I am really excited to create my own elit!

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Advertisements

To know yourself you have to become yourself

In this blogpost I go through the elit “High Muck a Muck”, expressing my thoughts and feelings about it. According to google, High muck a muck means “a person in a position of authority, especially one who is overbearing or conceited”.

http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/high-muck-a-muck/index.html

As I open the piece of elit, it tells me to “take a gamble” and see if I win the lottery. The piece itself starts with a male taking a ticket out of his pocket – next I am shown a square of chinese symbols. I am familiar with a few chinese symbols, but far too few to make any sense of meaning or interpret anything here.I try to make up my mind about which symbol to click, and feeling lead to click on the one symbol with a blue background (reminds me of a game of bingo where one has used a big marker to mark off which numbers has been called).

Before I get to clicking a symbol, the page has changed into a drawing of a human stomach with a map of trees, mountains and rivers. Honestly I am not sure if this was supposed to happen if I took too long clicking a symbol or if I clicked without realizing or whatever.

The neck says “everywhere and nowhere”, the left arm “pacific rim”, the right arm “Canada”. There is also Vancouver, Victoria, Richmond and Nelson. These are all clickable. The rest of the marks are a lighter shade of blue and appear as poems rather than geographic locations and are not links.

I am not sure if the poems are one or several, but one of them moved me a bit actually.

“Full or parsed moon with tears,
One hundred years ago,
Twenty eight village homes,
Elegance in tune,
How you landed where,
Scattered ashes orbit”

I am sure I could have filled a whole blogpost about just this one passage. Interpretations, emotions, thoughts. I think all the poems on the map gives clues towards the story the elit is trying to tell us, but somehow I find this passage of more importance than the others. It tells of troubled pasts and hope for the future, and thinking of what the piece said about immigration at first… This piece, so far, appears to be about your home – now just a memory of how home used to be – and how you hope the future will have something better planned for you. The other poems seems to hold memories as well, of food and areas.

The page of Canada has shorter poems, and more than one of them can be interpreted as thoughts of someone leaving their home in hopes of a better life elsewhere.

Victoria shows illustrations of various buildings and structures. The text that shows up when one clicks a door with chinese symbols above it moved me even more than any of the others did so far. “To know yourself you have to become yourself”. This passage is so full of meaning to me, as someone who in their teenage years had no clue what they wanted to do with their life – so many possibilities yet so many obstacles…

The above quote also reminds me of one of my favorite songs. It is well over ten minutes long and contains a poem being read towards the end. One of the passages of this poem also says “How can you just be yourself when you don’t know who you are?” (Song of Myself by Nightwish). And there is a link between one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists, and this piece of elit. The reason for me to like this elit becoming more and more clear.

“Some people are different.
You can see it. Or hear it.
That’s how I grew up
On the schoolground
What you’re called
A painful spike.”

Once again I am moved by “High Muck a Muck”, this time by a passage from Nelson. And here I am reminded of one of my favorite poems of all time. The poem starts like this:
“From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring” (Alone by Edgar Allan Poe).

And yet again I have another reason to really like this piece of elit. Although I cannot relate to the immigration theme of “High Muck a Muck” I can definitely relate to many of the topics and poetic passages of the piece.

I then continue to the page of Vancouver and click on the man with two girls where one is placed in a stroller.

“Don’t mention yourself
Especially when you show
A family portrait”

And even though this does not remind me of some favorite of mine, it touches me. Something about the selflessness and showing pride in not yourself but those that matter the most to you.

This is where I started having trouble exploring the rest of the piece, either the elit or my internet was against my mission of discovering the last pages.

With patience, I slowly moved forward. Richmond was next, followed by Pacific Rim and lastly Everywhere and Nowhere. Everywhere and Nowhere consisted only of sound, a clip almost four minutes long, and a slideshow to go with it. The sound gradually turns into music, with what I imagine being Chinese instruments. The song sounds rather sad, and at times a bit scary. Given the theme of the elit, I imagine families leaving their safe homes, fearful of how the future will be, but hoping things will be better someplace else. Towards the end, birds start to chirp – and the sad melody now accompanied by bells sounds somewhat happier. I imagine the same families arriving their new homes and discovering a better life awaits.

So, these are my thoughts and interpretations of High Muck a Muck. I really liked this piece of elit and am now sure that my own piece of elit definitely will contain poetry of some sort. High Muck a Muck also gave me inspiration and ideas for when I will start creating my own. All in all, I think this piece has had the most impact on me the most so far – which kind of surprised me. I did not expect that from High Muck a Muck, though I must say it was a nice surprise. Definitely one of my favorite pieces of elit so far this semester. Awesome.

Thank you for reading!

 

Advertisements

Kuryokhin: Second Life

Why Kuryokhin: Second Life
At the beginning of the semester we were told that all of us were to have a presentation in front of class. My presentation is coming up this Wednesday and for a long time I did not know which elit piece I wanted to do a presentation on. I made a shortlist in early September or so but soon figured out these were either too short or too complicated. By complicated I mean that some pieces of (important) information were hard to discover which made it hard to interpret. And then I was back at the beginning.

After much consideration, I ended up with Kuryokhin: Second Life (hereafter known as Second Life). A piece of elit where one always has several choices and depending on what you choose your stats will change. For example if you end up in the bar you might lose a health point.

When I first discovered this piece I went through it either two or three times – my mission quickly became all about keeping the guy alive. Long story short he died every time. I found it difficult to see how I was going to keep him from dying as it seemed whatever I did would make his stats worse. Honestly I am still not sure if it is possible to keep him alive.

 

About Second Life
Second Life is created by Michael Kurtov, a philosopher and writer, with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. This elit is a simulator of the afterlife of a man called Sergey Kuryokhin and is loosely based on his bio. Kuryokhin was an avantgarde composer (which is why you can choose to create music in the elit) and apparently also the legendary leader of cultural life in Leningrad in the 1980s. According to the authors’ statement, this elit «allows you to earn scores in health, knowledge and madness, while giving you opportunities to rethink the paths of the post-Soviet culture and politics». It sound interesting, right?

http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/kuryokhin/kuryokhin-english.html

 

Class presentation
I am thinking that during my presentation of the piece, keeping him alive will be the goal. I will let the other students decide what we are going to do when, and see how many tries it takes them. Within reasonable limits of course, especially since I am not sure myself whether it is actually possible to save his life. I still look forward to it, though. Going through the piece itself does not necessarily take too much time, but to discover everything can take time – which is yet another reason to have a goal of saving the man’s life (even if it might not be possible) – because to do this we might have to go through the piece several times (at least I had to go through it more than once – or twice for that matter).

After saving the guy (or giving up on it) there is the discussion part.
Topics I find interesting are:

  • What do others think of Second Life?
  • How can one compare Second Life to for example Quings Quest?
  • Can Second Life be considered a game more than Quings Quest (for example due to the stats)?
  • Steam has several games in the genre «visual novel», where several of these include choices which influence stats – can these be considered games within for example time management?
  • If the visual novels on Steam are games, does that mean Second Life must be a game too?
  • Can Second Life be considered a game?

 

My thoughts on the topics of discussion
When I was younger, flash games existed online where you were a kid trying to gain stats such knowledge and strength. These stats the character would gain in the form of for example private classes that cost money. To gain money you had to work. There were other stats and other things to do as well, but I can not remember much of it anymore. In other words, these are time management games.

Going through my Steam library I find visual novels that can also be considered to be within the genre of time management as you decide what the character should do at what time – which will influence the story and their stats. Except for the lack of visuals, I believe Second Life is very similar to these. You make your own choices which influence the stats which influences the story. Just as in the visual novels that are on Steam.

So in my opinion, Second Life is a time management novel? Or a visual novel lacking visuals? No. Second Life is a work of electronic literature. Though I honestly think it also could be considered a game. I am excited to see what my classmates has to say on the topic, as we agreed in class that Quings Quest in some ways could be seen as a game. As Second Life, at least in my opinion, takes the whole «game or just elit» a step further with the whole stats system, I think it will be an interesting discussion. I think it qualifies as a game just as much as any text-based game, and could fit in the time management category.

According to Second Life’s information page in the third elit collection, it is considered interactive fiction – but also a game! Therefore I think my description when comparing it to visual novels and games is pretty good. To quote something I found within the piece of elit, dated October 10th 2017 (yes, I know that is in the future!): «a metasimulator, both a game and not a game, simulation of the game and game simulation». Sounds like a good description of this elit.

 

Summary/what I think of Second Life
I like Second Life. It is literature and game blended together to something wonderful. It is nice to see how this combination can be taken further from pieces like Quings Quest (which I also enjoyed) by adding stats – something I think made the work even more interesting. The story itself is also interesting, and as you explores the story you will feel like you are getting to know someone – slowly. I feel like I want to learn more about this composer whom I have never heard of before. The elit even mentions Beethoven, my favorite classical composer of all time – bonus points given!

 

That is all for now…
Thanks for reading!
‘Till next time, go listen to some Beethoven.

 

 

Advertisements

Is it poetry?

(Since I am going away for the weekend, my blogpost is published a few days early.)

This time I am going to write about Pentametron, which is a poetry generator. The website seems not to be in use, so here is a link to the Twitter page: https://twitter.com/pentametron

The Twitter account was created in March 2012, and has since gained over 20.000 followers.

The poems usually consist of four lines where each line is a tweet of its own. All the tweets used are retweeted from other Twitter accounts despite the fact that Pentametron is only following two users. I am not sure how the account works, but find it quite interesting.

According to “I love e-poetry” (http://iloveepoetry.com/?p=48), Pentametron is made by Ranjit Bhatnagar and sifts through 10% of all Tweets, passing them through a dictionary for pronunciation (to find out what rhymes with what, I assume). The mechanism behind Pentametron sounds rather simple, but effective. Though when I say simple, I do not mean to say I know how it is done – because I do not (I would love to learn though!), I just imagine that the process behind how Pentametron works is very simple once you know how to set it all up.

Now that we know a bit about how this Twitterbot works, let’s move on to the big billion dollar question that Pentametron and similar bots raise: Is it art? Is it poetry? We discussed this a bit in class already, so instead of trying to speak of this in an objective matter I will write down my own thoughts about this.

So – is Pentametron poetry? Is it even art?

Well, traditionally speaking art, and the traditional genres of art (music, poetry, paintings, etc) were made to express feelings. Emotions which the bots cannot understand, meaning Pentametron contains no feelings. However, that does not mean the reader cannot feel anything from reading the poems. Therefore, emotions may be involved after all. Thus making the “emotions”-argument not valid.

Pentametron rhymes. Pentametron is (at times) cryptic. Pentametron opens for interpretation, at least to some extent. Pentametron produces poetry… But back to emotions, will the reader feel anything?

In my opinion yes – sometimes. Some of the poems made me feel emotions. Others did not (but maybe they made others feel an emotion and just not me?). What wakes emotions is individual.

“So over everything and everyone,
(they alternated roles throughout the run),
When will the lonely feelings go away?,
Up doing homework got a test today.”

This poem perfectly describes the life of a teenager- they feel done with the world, and lonely – and got no time to talk to their friends because they got homework and tests to work with. I think many can relate to this – meaning it will cause people to feel something.

So, is it poetry? Yes, one could say that – but not in the traditional meaning. Many of the poems does not really make sense, no matter how much one tries.

So, do I like Pentametron? Kind of. I find the technology behind it fascinating, but I am not really a fan of the poetry it results in. Which brings us to the question if I am a fan of poetry in general (because otherwise of course one would not like Pentametron).

Yes, I do like poetry. While looking for a more classic poem speaking of loneliness, to compare with Pentametron, I remembered this:
“By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,”
(taken from “Dreamland” (1844) by Edgar Allan Poe).

I think that Poe opens for interpretation on a completely different level than Pentametron. Though the loneliness in the two poems may not be in the same context, I still find the differences fascinating. Pentametron tells us of loneliness and being done with everyone, while saying they have to do homework, which means more isolation from friends (hence feeding the loneliness). Poe, on the other hand, does not explain as much what is going on – leaving the reader more freedom to interpret. Also I think Poe “paints” the poem better, by giving one pictures to imagine in ones head. However, Pentametron’s poems are more fun to read – and not as exhausting because one does not need to rethink and interpret every single line or even every word.

Is this a matter of taste? Quite possible. It is not fair of me to compare Pentametron to my favorite poet, because that makes the whole comparison so much more subjective. But then again, this is my blog – meaning I decide when to be subjective and when not to be.

Overall, Pentametron is fascinating – real poetry or mocketry (mock + poetry = mocketry. Yes I just made that up) does not matter as much because Pentametron is meant as a way of entertainment. However, is not all art meant as entertainment?

 

The discussion of what is art and what is not, of what can be considered poetry and what cannot, the discussion of what entertainment is or is not, the discussion of taste/subjectivity vs objectivity… They can go on forever. Therefore I am not going to expand more on them in this blogpost. Even though these subjects are fun to discuss, I believe there is no objective truth because everyone is different. We are all individuals. And there you have my final answer to whether Pentametron is art and/or poetry: it is up to each and everyone of us to decide for ourselves whether it is or is not.

Thank you for reading my blogpost. More to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.

 


Why don’t you read the way I write?

“Why don’t you write the way you talk?
Why don’t you read the way I write?”

These two sentences were written at the «begin»-page of Soliloquy and were something I kept in mind as I read my way through it. The sentences give depth to the piece, and adds another dimension on how to read it.

“Soliloquy” is written by Kenneth Goldsmith. It is a piece of electronic literature that gives the reader either a question or a sentence for each page and as one moves the pointer somewhere on the page, a response is shown – which changes depending on which part of the site one points to.

Discover “Soliloquy” yourself

At first I tried reading all the possible responses in the order they were written – “why don’t you read the way I write?” But I soon realized that things would not make much more sense that way. “You don’t write the way you talk.”

Apparently the sentences at the «begin»-page not only are poetic or a hint towards how to read this piece of e-lit – but it is actually a way of human interpretation. I think most of us would not write exactly the same sentences if they were to be spoken out loud instead. And what we write can be interpreted in so many more different ways than what we intend them to be. This reminds me of when in class, we were told to think about what we write in our blog posts – because they are public and we never know who will read them (or how they will be interpreted).

“Soliloquy” gives the reader seven options, one for each day of the week. Each day of the week has several pages, each with a different opening and different bunch of replies. I think they are in chronological order, but the order in which they are read does not matter that much. I have seen the mention of the names John, David, Suzanne, Margo, Xenakis, Chavez, Bruce, Blair, Marjorie, Phillipa and Cheryl Donegan (another character’s wife, I think their spouse is called Munsy) but could not understand so much who they were. I have a feeling though that maybe we are reading the story from Munsy’s point of view? Partly because their wife, Cheryl, is the most mentioned person in the story from what I’ve read.

I found many nice quotes throughout the work. Here are some examples:
“So tell me” – “Well, I don’t know” (This happens a lot, right?)
“Hi.” – “You just bad mouthed me” (I thought this one was a bit funny)
“Hey, I can sit behind my computer and be real anti-social” – “Yeah”
“Nobody listens everybody talks at once” – “Mine nobody listens, nobody talks”

I liked this piece of electronic literature because it gives the reader the chance to interpret everything on its own, the work is just there and the way one reads it – and the path one chooses – is completely open. On the other side, this openness does bring a bit confusion as to what the meaning of the work is. I am given many conversations where each gives me information about something, which makes it difficult to find the story behind it all. It is like a jigsaw puzzle consisting of thousands of pieces where some pieces are missing, others don’t fit and some you might even have duplicates of.

I do wonder in which way it is supposed to be read – am I supposed to read all the replies in order and let them form a conversation? Or pick one of them? I found out that either way, a lot of it would not make sense. The replies make sense for a while, as if being a conversation between two people, but suddenly it will not make sense anymore. I think maybe each page contains several conversations? Perhaps even conversations between different people? I’m not sure, but that would be my best guess if I am to make sense of every single reply. My other guess is that by looking at what soliloquy means, that the work is a monologue and made up of a person’s thoughts – but honestly I can’t quite get that to make sense, either.

In the end, I allowed myself to read the description of “Soliloquy” – which I had not done beforehand in order to allow myself to interpret the work freely and without any knowledge about it. Apparently, this piece of e-lit consists of everything the author said for a whole week in April 1996. I cannot say though, that “Soliloquy” makes more sense to me now. To me it still is bits of pieces of conversations that give small pieces of information about people and their lives – which I guess is true either way.

Way earlier in this blog post, I wrote that “I think most of us would not write exactly the same sentences if they were to be spoken out loud instead.” And I guess this becomes even more relevant now that we know this work is transcribed from a recording consisting of everything a man said for a week. It also is a reason why the pages were difficult to understand, because they were meant to be spoken words heard by our ears, and not words in a literary piece to be read by our eyes.

I think my strategy for reading e-lit in the future will be the same as it was this time. I will continue to interpret the work of e-lit first, and then read about it later. That way I will be more open-minded when discovering the works. I think it will be an interesting journey.

And through these blog posts I am already starting to realise how much of myself shines through the analyse, and how they teach me to know myself better. When we were told in class that we would get to know ourselves better through this subject, yet I never thought it would be as literally as it seems right now.
(Hmm, is a poetic sign-off my way of ending blog posts? We’ll see.)

See you soon!
And thank you for reading.