With those we love alive… and The Cape… too much for one post!

With Those We Love Alive is a game built to be an interactive storytelling world of a whole new outlook on elit. Gameplay consists of reading and clicking links, with a platform provided by shifting background colors blistering meaningful words. It’s not your typical game that you would think would be played on a game console or phone for instance. This is a game that will have you traveling through a portal created by your own mind and it’s outcome.

Language is everything in this game, and Porpentine uses it to eerie and mesmerizing effect. Caromine, one of many names serves the Empress, a multi-faceted being whose appearance naked bone, spider legs, moth fur, slithering coils is determined by players’ own choices. Although technically a prisoner, Caromine has the run of the palace and city — she can visit a glass and leafbone garden filled with half-sunken statues, meditate by an inky, dead lake, and sip intoxicating potions at the dream. Some of the language usage and word placement seems to be of a weird and ironic kind. But it best served the underlying message the author was trying to portray.

There is a central question to With Those We Love Alive: “Are you part of the world, one with others, a person, or are you alone and apart?” And unlike the game’s other choices, this one has a right answer.wtwla_image8
The Cape:

This piece gave me mixed emotions, I didn’t know whether to prepare myself for an inspiring piece, or a history lesson. Clicking into this bland black and white template that would let me select from nine picture frames. Researching this piece, I didn’t find much but only about the author himself and how he discovered his own life writing this piece. Hitting each square from left to right, and even out of order, just made me frustrated that there was no substance or structure to follow. The images and lack of color gives me a very old feel just like the books I did not want to read back in grammar school. The story is so short and bland that it almost gave me the impression that the author became lazy in the midst of it all. The way he seemed lazy in making it, I felt lazy having to read it. Call me a new soul, but I was eagerly looking for color, character, the climax, a conclusion, SOMETHING! It needed to know this story was going to progressively get somewhere, and that’s what frustrated me the most was that it didn’t.

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Separation By: Annie Abrahams

At first I clicked too fast, and a sign flashed in front of me saying ‘You don’t have the right attitude in front of a computer.. You either click too fast, you use too much force, or you’re too tense…etc.’ I slowed down and a text similar to a poem started to appear on the page, one word with each click.

The lines that I found interesting were,“Your body became mine,but mine, mine muscles, nerves overused, abused, neglected, You don’t feel my pain.”

As I was reading these lines it made me slow down and click after reading each word several times, allowing the next word to appear. These words caught my attention and made me realize how overworked and overused our bodies and minds truly are- and we take it for granted. Even as I was forced to slow down and click slower. The slide that immediately appears after these lines is “Rest” which then leads you to a visual exercise of putting your head on your legs, hanging your arms to the side, and simply breathing. At the end of the text, it states “How to relax a computer? How to massage a computer?” and with one click, a yellow circle appears with what looks like text that I cannot read because it moves across the page so quickly. I tried several times to get to this point “Separation” but failed to comprehend its last word.

All in all, I enjoyed to purity of how the piece opens your eyes to what the world has become blind to. There are many ways during our everyday lives where we lose touch with reality.

Sooth By: David Jhave Johnston

The Beauty of e-poetry

“Sooth” David Jhave Johnston

 

Since childhood, my favorite type of writing has always been poetry. I always looked at it as a chance to put into words a certain feeling or emotion that you want someone else to read and feel. Being raised in a house full of boys, I always found it hard to express myself in a way that others would understand. Technology is and has always been a big part of my life. Having the privilege to read electronic literature and electronic poetry has opened up a whole new world and way of reading that I greatly enjoy. Discovering e-poetry is something that I find great for readers that already enjoy reading and writing poetry.

Electronic poetry is a good tool to help convey the emotion behind the written piece in clever ways that cannot be done on tangible pieces. The piece “Sooth” by Johnston is the piece I will be reviewing. This specific piece draws upon series of love poems recreated into a piece of electronic poetry. The basis behind this piece is the tone and how it’s portrayed within the realm of technology. Instead of flipping through a book, you are forced to electronically travel through several love poems. Sooth is a set of love poems interactively triggered by clicks on each video in tune to display words of a poem. Sounds associated with each phrase are mapped to audio which pans and volume shifts in space as the saying flies through each picture. These phrases are intended to display a certain emotion and/ or behavior within each poem. Interestingly the title “Sooth” means truth. Each poem is derived back to these title theme, presenting words of truth and thoughtful emotional themes.

Upon opening Johnston’s work, the reader is introduced to a dark screen with grey text, forcing the reader to select a poem from the left menu hypertexts. The first of these poems is the piece named “Sooth”. Clicking on the title links starts a video, in this case wind moving ferns. Each new click of the screen introduces new phrases of the poem. The words glide smoothly on to the screen and seem to rustle in the wind with the ferns. The poem and video are combined with sounds of birds, water, and music. With each click and introduction of new words to the screen, the video pans to a different aspect of the landscape and the tone and quality of the color of the video screen changes. As you click on the video and the phrases load, you can see that as the poem continues to pop up on your screen the emotion of the video gets stronger, the music becomes louder, and the colors become more darker.

The second poem, “Weeds” which shows a close up panning of a woman laying down, resting. Their eyes open and close intermittently. There appears to be a strong focus on appearance and texture, of the skin, clothes, and even words. The word choices and movement of each line delivery are both eradicating and interesting. Various words are brought on to the screen and float around. Flashing and fading in and out the same way that the first poem does. The color tone of the screen changes constantly, altering the mood of the poem in front of you as a written piece could never portray.

The third poem, “Body” follows the same format. The video is an image of a color changing scenery of what could be the curves of a body or the outline of a landscape. The words come on the screen in clicks in the same way as the previous poems, overlapping and creating alternating stanzas of compelling language and beautiful words. What stood out to me most in this one was how fast the words would fade out, I thought there was a deeper meaning behind that, but I wasn’t too sure.

 

“Root” is set to a flowing water in a calming background image that features the poems lines swirling and flowing back and forth as soon as they appear on screen, moving with the flowing water. Once I thought the last one was fast paced, this one went even faster, I could barely make out the words at this point. I had to play it a few time to get the words again and again. Each new line seems to be a complete thought, each which flows together nicely with the next. So if the author intended it to be face paced and unreadable, than they succeeded.

“Soul” is a poem in which the background is dark with a fish breathing through its gill very deeply. Each new word comes up twice above the fish. Once in large letters that fades out in the background and is replaced with each click and introduction of a new word, plus a smaller pairing that is always in motion alternating in size and brightness with each other word. The words of this poem are about sex and love, an interesting pairing against such a non-sexual or romantic background setting. At first the language is set in French until you realize there is a button on the bottom that lets you change the language in English. After that sigh of relief that you can actually understand the poem, you than read and realize that this poem had deep sex meanings that came out of nowhere. I guess it was fitting with the whole “love” topic.

The final poem in the series is “Snow.” This still video features and extreme close-up of clean, perfect, snow with a small strip of blue at the top of what looks like the sky. Each phrase appears in white, an interesting choice against a white background that can make them almost unreadable, but each set of words floats up to the blue sky above it, making each phrase legible. The poem features lines about being together and alone at the same time. As the sounds becomes deeper, and the background becomes more of a blur, the words get stronger and begin to shake showing some type of reaction towards that certain part of the piece. The author really made the music match the effect of every word and meaning towards the poems.

The word “Sooth” has the same root as the word “truth”. By the end of the series of love poems, it is evident that these poems are meant to be a quest for truth: The truth about the self and the other, for instance, or the fact that both are indistinguishable (“i sooth i with u / u sooth u with i”). Overall, the author did a great job utilizing the music, moving dramatic images, deep words giving them its meaning, and the way the words faded jumping at you in each poem. I enjoyed reading the e-lit series of love poems as it reminds me of my favorite kind of work as a kid, and that was writing poetry. Hopefully I am inspired enough to go back to what inspires me most to write, poetry is a dead art that I must reach back into.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin… Or the Big Bad Wolf?

First and foremost, I would like to point out how much this story reminded me of my childhood, except, it was an animated version. When first opening up the hobo lobo hyperlink I imagined something very immature and dry, but it was the total opposite. Looking at the story at first reminded me of the story of the big bad wolf. A story of something that is playful and has a hidden message behind it leaving it up to you to find out what that is by the end of the story. There were many parts where I was excited to continue reading because this playful banter including some bad words, was clever enough to actually have an underlying message behind it. The story talks about a peasant wolf hired to get rid of disturbing rats in the town of Hamelin.

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Rats being actual characters in the story, the mayor wants help in getting rid of them and getting them out of town. This wolf decides to help for money and bragging rights in return. What is expected of the mayor after getting rid of the rats was not met. As the wolf waited for his reward for getting rid of the rats, the mayor decides to say that there was no written contract in his payment agreement. The wolf then took the mayor to court but it ended up going to the best interest of the mayor. So by the end of the story, the wolf, ended up more broke than ever. What I got out of the story, and what I feel the underlying message was is how, in the end, you can’t expect money, earned by doing a distasteful wealthy- job, to lead you anywhere wholesome yet doing what you like will. The mayor the whole time did not have good intentions for this wolf helping him out.

These are great life lessons to be aware of in this dog eat dog world we live in. At first I thought I was going to read about the story of the three little pigs. I was clearly wrong. Once I started seeing the curse words, I knew that this was clearly going to be a strong and adult like story. The way the stories images dragged from left to right and moved with the words was so cool to see. I feel like the animation as well as the sounds and dark moments in the story had impact on how the author wanted the tone to feel like in that specific part. It was so amazing how you felt the anger and every other emotion while reading certain parts. I would definitely recommend this story to other readers that are interested in e- lit. The many ways this story was a success can mean the same for many others.

First Draft of the Revolution! Or is it?

 

First reading this piece, I thought it was pretty interesting especially as an English major that I was able to “edit” the letters before sending them out on this portal piece of elit. Interesting enough, I thought there would be different outcomes, but mid-way, I was eager to reach the end. I asked myself, when will this end, and when is it over? I later wanted the piece to finish and just let me read the piece like a regular story. One of the main characters Juliette, who has left the country for the summer, and her husband Henri, who has banished his wife because of pressure from his family were in a portal filled with letters that needed to be changed.

In the beginning of the story, it is revealed that both Henri and his wife are using magic paper to deliver instant letters to each-other. The point of the story is revealed through Juliette’s and Henri’s letters to one another. Interesting enough, the reader clicked through different portals of these letters following a provided change or edit within the text. It gives you great insight on revision and also how un-done the author made the reader think these letters were.

After a while, these edits were just becoming redundant and overbearing. I wanted to read a story that was consistent and had an accurate ending. I appreciated the playful edits and renditions of letter, however, mid-way I wanted it to be over. By helping to revise their letters, the reader exposes who the characters are. She doesn’t define or change them. Juliette, Henri, and the others are meant to have consistent personalities, and there’s nothing the reader can do to alter this.

A story that was written to be before the French Revolution, I found this piece to be similar to a novella. A novella that I was forced to watch as a child with my grandmother. These shows were many based on overly dramatized plots that had loads of screaming, crying, and misunderstandings. Overall, I enjoyed the click and interactive-ness of this piece, and also how it was a dated piece meant to play out before the French Revolution, anything written back in the day paved the way as they say. It could’ve been better in the whole flow of the story but I understand there was a purpose for that in this piece.

Thermopolis In Love!

The thought of having to join a so called “game” that was more like a blogging site seemed pretty interesting at first. It was the complete opposite of what I had expected it to be. Thermopolis in love described the characters as having different genders. It made corky and cartoony connection to different types of characters and how they played roles in this particular netprov game. At first hearing the word netprov, I thought of the word improve. Improv is a term that is usually used in theatre classes and plays where characters jump into acts and have to come up with things on the spot at the top of their head. Reacting and interacting in the game, I felt like improv was very much needed in order to effectively play the game. This game gave you a chance to embrace the characteristics of the character you were given. This gave netprovers opportunities to embrace being someone or something they wouldn’t regularly be. As a so called “fac” one of the characters in the game, I felt like my own personal personality did not embody what a fac really was. Networking and interacting with other facs made me feel like I didn’t belong, therefore, making me act and speak like someone I am not. Being a fac,

Gender: Fac
Formal Classification: Facultative thermophiles
Strengths: Shape-shifting gender. You conform to whatever situation you are in.
Propensity to develop different personalities, which to you are more like modalities.
Personality is just a tool. You are up for whatever. (Can cause jealousy as you flit about doing your thing.)
Propensity to lose yourself.
Weakness: Truth is relative to you; ‘lying’ isn’t in a concept to you.
Motto: Dare To be Similar
Other Genders: Feel connected and at home with you
Occupations: Explorer, investigative reporter, private eye, spy, political strategist

I feel like I did not embody the details of being a fac that are listed above. With that being said, I found it rather difficult to relate and not sound robotic. What also threw me off, was the science and biological terms that were used in this game. I was thrown for a loop trying to decipher what words meant what in order to continue on in this game. Even towards the beginning, I didn’t understand the point of the game, but obviously given the title “ Thermopolis in Love” gave it light. All in all, I thought the concept of the game was cool, however, I feel like they could of made it more fun being interactive and playing around with the characters more.

Blog Post #6: Review of “This is how you will Die!”

Image result for this is how you will die“This is how you will die” By: Jason Nelson is a piece made up of as described as dry humor. This piece uses a slot machine interface to randomly generate a story board of the readers’ demise, allowing the reader to continue spinning the slot machine, as long as she has credits remaining. With that aspect, it reminded me of being in Vegas and playing at your own will. Knowing you have high stakes and high chances of loosing money, You still play to try your luck. What I didn’t like about this piece was the was it spun and how certain hypertext would try to make you click otherwise. What was disturbing to me was how when opening the tab the tab says, “slotdeath”. This actually made me think something was going to pop up on my screen. Playing a slot game to determine my death and let me know how it happened isn’t something I would want to play in real life. The circumstances as well as the causes of deaths, including what happens to your body and after are all absurd and pretty disturbing. The only thing that might have felt like it belonged  the music, the short animated pieces and the “explain death” poem. In this, as in other works of e-poetry by Jason Nelson, playful interfaces and darkly humorous tone serve as cover for serious themes and personal exploration. By the end of this piece, I was not really a fan. I would look at the prompt that stated congratulations you have won more spins, when in all actuality, I did not want to continue playing. I actually wanted to stop playing after reading the first spin. I did not enjoy this piece and I would not had continued to read it if it were not for this class. I usually tend to look at the bright side of pieces of elit that are written in gruesome and gory ways.