Saturday, February 29, 2020

Chapter 5 and dear ee

Chapter 5 was about kinetic and interactive poetry. I thought it was very interesting because I had no idea that the genre existed. Rettberg says that "words and letters are not only carriers of meaning but material objects that themselves have variable properties" (118). This is true in the piece, dear e.e. It was super overstimulating, because the music was very fast and letters and pictures flew around the room. I did not really understand it. The narrator talks about how they dreamt that E.E. Cummings rearranged their apartment one night, even though they do not have one. I think the hypertext did a good job at showing how strange and disorienting dreams can be. I think the authors might have also been showing how whimsical and strange E.E. Cummings' poems are. The medium definitely had a big impact on the experience of reading. The handwritten font made it seem more intimate, like a personal letter, and the busy screen emphasizes how chaotic the story is. I think the authors were good at encapsulating how nonsensical dreams are, like when she says she doesn’t remember what her couch looked like, she just knew that she had one.

I looked at Brian Kim Steffan's The Dreamlife of Letters. It is a kinetic poem with themes of gender and sexuality. You don't really interact with the poem and I found it a little confusing. The poem goes alphabetically, so it does not have full sentences, which made it difficult for me to stay engaged. It seemed like randomly selected words and you definitely needed to be able to analyze the work and think critically about why the author chose specific words. The screen was very busy and words would jump across the page, which made it more interesting than a normal poem, but it was difficult for me to understand the message the author was trying to get across.

Meg Champagne

Monday, February 24, 2020

EL chap 4 + Zork

When I read the first sentence of this chapter, I had a flashback to computer games I used to play. It tells how computer games and electronic literature she a "rich common history" and how computer games are the dominant form of contemporary entertainment. Before I even read this chapter I thought about computer games I used to play when I was a kid. They used to be either downloaded on a disk or played on a website. Now, I may not be as much into computer games but I definitely don't hear about them as much anymore. I do hear more about video games though, especially because that is a technology that is evolving in advances such as technical digitizing and art. I had never thought of computer games being an electronic/interactive fiction. However, it's true that a lot of games are considered to be adventure games, telling a story and learning more of the narrative as the game went on.

Reading about Zork, this sounds like the type of video game I was used to hearing about as a kid. To think that it is still around, and available on new technologies goes to show that software developing has been a big part of videogames and technology. Its compelling storyline seems to what had intrigued its users. Also, many of the tactics used in Zork sounded like it could make a better use for educational purposes, such as including adjectives, conjunctions, prepostions, and compound verbs. The chatbot and its rare clues had continued to inspire technologist and that is what makes it such a great example for the evolution of computer games.

Cassie H
Zork is a text-based game about exploring a fantasy world. Like many other works we have looked at Zork gives the reader freedom of choice. However, the main difference with Zork is that it does not show the reader what options they have. Rather they must type in a verb and then the game gives the reader text based on their choice. This is very different from hypertext because hypertext gives the reader less freedom. Zork lets the reader create their own story instead of discovering someone else’s story. I found Zork interesting, but the question of, “what is literature?” came to mind as I was playing it. In many ways Zork resembles video games: absolute freedom of choice and wandering around a fantasy world are both aspects of modern games. Although this game is completely text-based, I do not consider it to be literature. Traditional literature has no interactive aspect, and Zork is entirely interactive. I feel that if we were to consider games like Zork to be literature then there would be an argument that other video games are also literature.


When looking at the benefits of EL that of traditional print, one can argue that EL holds more value due to its accessibility and variating traits. However, ch 4 looks deeper into the preserving, archiving, and dissemination of EL. The problem is that electronic literature becomes virtually unplayable, whether it be the software is outdated, or t is not compatible anymore. This is something that traditional print does not have any problems with. That is until the electronic LIterature Organization came up with P.A.D, which is the preservations, archiving, and dissemination of Electronic literature. This allows the literary works to be accessible through a creative commons license that allows the, to be freely disseminated without altering. This opens up EL to a larger audience, making it accessible across multiple different platforms.

The "X-literature initiative" claims that "literature" is a complex formation of web activities that include more than conventional images of reading and writing. There are many more forms of this kind of electronic literature that separate it completely from traditional print. Even though traditional print is in a sense, preserved better through libraries, etc. Electronic literature is more than just reading and writing, it is interactive. In class, we have looked at examples of how EL is more than just reading and writing with examples of Centre Ville, and patchwork girl. These examples further show how electronic literature is evolving.

Ryan Donahue

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 of Electronic Literature focuses on interactive fiction and computer games. A line that really stood out to me from the text was that computer games are "the focus of the largest popular entertainment industry, dwarfing even the film industry." I guess I never realized just how popular they are. The Zork series is an example of computer games that were popular during the 80's. Zork is an example of interactive fiction as the game relies on the text to tell the narrative. The audience reading/producing the story is the player of the game. Many works of interactive fiction are considered to be games because they are resolved by the player either winning something or solving a riddle/question. I feel like the computer games made in the late 2000's are less works of literature than ones like Zork and Varicella because those only have the text to tell the story and guide the player whereas the newer games have audio and visual aspects so the actual words of the game don't matter as much.

I looked into Adam Cadre's Varicella that was mentioned in Electronic Literature. It was very easy to find online and play, which I was kind of surprised about since it's an older work. I really liked the vocabulary and narrative of this game. I enjoyed the drama of it all and my favorite line from the first part of the game was, "All you need is an opportunity. And that opportunity is now." Some of it was difficult because I didn't really know what to type and what keywords the game needed in order to progress through different rooms in the palace. A lot of times I got, "That's not a recognized verb." which was kind of frustrating because I was just trying to exit the western ballroom. Overall it was fun once you figured out the correct wording to type in.

Maddie Ireland

Games and Literature

Chapter 4 in Electronic Literature is titled "Interactive Fiction and Other Gamelike Forms". The start of the chapter Rettburg explains the connection between computer games and electronic literature, stating how computer games are "... the dominate form of comtemporary entertainment produced within digital environments" (87). Rettburg then explains the history behind "text-adventure" games and how they became popular around the world. One of the main ideas within this chapter is the connection between interactive fiction and the reader. Rettburg explains how the reader within interactive fiction acts as a player who acts as the navigator throughout the world. Interactive fiction revolves around the interaction of environments and characters with the ultimate goal of an interactive fiction having a definitive outcome.

Colossal Cave Adventure was created in 1975 and is considered the first work of interactive fiction. It was created by Will Crowther, a programmer who developed the game for his children. The gameplay focused on collecting objects and solving puzzles while trying to find all of the object within the cave. The game was only suppose to be for his children, but he posted it on a ARPANET forum that allowed others to modify the code. The game would keep track of your score as your would progress throughout the game with a maximum score of 350. The player would have three lives and the game would reset if the player lost all three. Crowther described his game as "just some rather simplistic logic and a small table of known words" (92). Colossal Cave Adventure is considered one of the most influential works in interactive fiction because it spawned a new genre of electronic literature.

Tim W

Chap. 4 / Zork

Chapter 4 covered interactive fiction which is a genre of e-lit. The comparisons Rettberg makes to Zork and other interactive fiction games like Galatea are conversational and tend to further his description of interactive fiction. He describes interactive fiction as the early stages of computer games, some which don’t even have graphics. The evolution from text to things like graphics and graphics cards is the physical evolution of interactive fiction. Video games of the time and today have grown more interactive in relation to thing like hypertext. In games you can chose from a series of options which have potential to change the story line or ending. The growth of computer gaming has slowly killed this idea of interactive fiction by introducing new ways to explore the story. Apart from the original interactive fiction guidelines from the era, the changes made have slowly left these guidelines behind. In the last section of the chapter Rettburg states; “Games are arguably the most predominant form of storytelling in contemporary digital media, and some games have become shared cultural referents”. I agree with this statement, playing computer games myself, I have seen the stories told through games grow in sophistication and although they aren’t written lit they still portray great stories.

After not really understanding Zork I had to read some reviews online and watch some YouTube but after learning the game take up to 10 hours to complete I knew I wouldn’t be beating it, however, watching some YouTube videos on it and seeing the choices people made to work there way around the map and house made me think of current horror games, although there is no graphics in Zork it kind of plays out like a current gen horror game and you can make many wrong choices which make you have to back track or even restart. It is a cool game especially from the time, the depth and understanding AI push Zork over the top. I think a modern recreation of something similar would be cool especially in today's world where the AI can hold so much more information creating almost infinite story lines/ options.

Mason Sweet

Chapter 4 and Text Adventures

Chapter 4 talked about interactive fiction, a genre of electronic literature. The text adventure games mentioned in the chapter reminded me a lot of the hypertexts that we looked at last week, but these seemed more interactive and relied more on the choices of the user than hypertext.

I looked at Galatea and Zork which were both extremely similar in regards to how they function. I played Zork first and was confused in the beginning, but started to get the hang of it. I realized quickly that the AI wouldn't recognize certain words or phrases so I was only able to give simple commands like "walk," "jump," or "climb" in order for my character to interact with the world. When I did want to perform an action, the AI asked me to be specific ("walk west" instead of simply "walk"). I walked into a forest, climbed a tree, found a jewel-encrusted egg, jumped on a grate and opened it, hopped around in a field, and screamed as I threw the egg around trying to break it. The AI mentioned something about dungeons, but I was never able to find one. It was almost like the AI was a separate character that was watching me and judging me for my actions. When I commanded my character to hop the AI responded, "Do you expect me to applaud?" I found in very unhelpful in guiding me on what to do next, especially since there were no instructions.

Galatea was a similar experience. My character came upon a marble statue of a woman in an emerald dress - Galatea. I was supposed to interact with her and talk to her, but everything I tried to ask or talk about couldn't be interpreted by the AI. I got bored and gave up after about 10 minutes of trying to communicate and failing.

Although I thought that these text adventures were interesting and imaginative, I found that they lacked a plot or any real guidance which made me disinterested after a relatively short amount of time. I think that video games today are much more interactive and immersive. Two of my favorite games of all time are Skyrim and the most recent Tomb Raider trilogy for Xbox One. Both games have extremely detailed narratives that the player can explore and customize to their own style of playing which makes me feel like I'm actually in the game myself. I think that the visual aspects of video games today makes a huge difference in a player's engagement with the game. The text adventures gave me the freedom to create my own setting and envision my own realm to explore, but the lack of visuals also left me disoriented at times with relatively no way to know where I was other than the basic terms of "FOREST" or "CLEARING" like in Zork. I appreciated the text adventures, but I would definitely prefer modern-day video games.


I'm so in-to-active fiction

Interactive Fiction (IF) is described by Rettberg as originally a digital platform that allows readers to explore a space and navigate by typing phrases. These readers would control a character or player and often talk to other characters within the fiction. Rettberg also talks about the development level between characters that interact with the reader. Some have more of a confrontation and a dialogue, whereas, others may mean less to the narrative or progression of the game. As well, the story is unfolded by adventuring to different parts of the area and talking/reading. Another interesting aspect of IF is that there are a lot of puzzle-based aspects and players "win" by achieving some goal or solving a puzzle. One video game that I've played in more modern developments that still has puzzle-based aspect is Zelda. As I was reading this, I was thinking about how Zelda uses a lot of clear puzzle-based mechanisms to solve dungeons. Even the newer game, Breath of The Wild, uses more than 10 different puzzle games to achieve Korok seeds. In other words, modern gaming continues to use aspects of Interactive Fiction that were once crucial for interaction and are now completely optional. Aspects such as dialogue have been kept for a lot of video games, when there are yet other ways to tell the story within the game. In a way, I think these aspects of IF are what made them so enjoyable.

The reference that I looked into was the web poem "Arteroids" by Jim Andrews. Basically, this is a game where the reader plays as a red phrase that is chased by other lines of poetry. Modeled after "Asteroids," this game merges poetry and game. As Rettberg mentions, the merge between the two interactive mediums begs the question: When are you reading poetry and when are you simply playing Arteroids? (Rettberg). It also comes in the form of a book where the print version has a style of "Asteroids" (spaced sequences, main phrase, exploding bits), but focuses on the reading more than physical interaction. The change from web to print interestingly contributes more to the poetry aspect than the game aspect. Zelda is awesome.


Chapter four and Galatea

Chapter four is about interactive fiction, a genre of electronic Literature. Rettberg begins by comparing interactive fiction to video games like Zork. He then describes the evolution of text based to the release of graphics cards and how that almost took away the text-based game audience. He then walks through the history of these games and works until reaching the end where he talks about straight up video games. This ending section left me underwhelmed because the games he mentioned were either old and kind of stale, or just unknown games that aren’t very relatable. I got this feeling that modern games aren’t considered e-lit and it made me sad. I feel like the games that I play and grew up playing gave me some of the best fictional stories I’ve encountered in my Life. I felt like the chapter just dances around big triple A games and doesn’t consider them literature.

I looked into Galatea and tried to play it online. I’m pretty sure I played the right thing. It was confusing at first. I didn’t know that only set verbs worked in the game as commands. You have to use phrases like “ask her” or “tell her about” in order to begin to enter anything like a conversation. It seemed like regardless of what I said, the conversation would go where it was going to go. She would just ignore and say something totally different than what I asked. All in all, weird piece.

Chapter 4/ Zork

This chapter was all about interactive fiction and games. A lot of this reminded me of Choose Your Own Adventure and similar to certain hypertexts that readers had. the choice of what to do next. I think this is a very entertaining form of electronic literature as it is fun for readers. to choose what's next versus simply following a preplanned course. However, I didn't love Zork because while I had fun trying to figure it out, nothing I said let me do. anything. I would make several moves before I had actually made the right one and could progress. When I played Zork it simply reminded me of when we conversed with the computer and received short answers back. I felt like I was talking to my computer but not making a lot of progress in the actual game because it was hard.

I looked into Trinity, as in the book it was mentioned to be similar to Alice in Wonderland in that the main character, to avoid a missile crisis, finds a door to a strange underworld filled with the impossible, alike to Alice. However, when I went to download it, the available game that popped up on my browser was similar to Zork in that it was a conversation and you had to say the correct thing to progress. I tried to play for a little but gave up when no commands I gave led me anywhere.

Kendall Arkay

Friday, February 21, 2020

Interactive Fiction and Other Gamelike Forms

The chapter we read in Electronic Literature was about interactive fiction. Making a piece of literature interactive makes the reader feel like they are in control of a story. I think the only way to create this genre on paper would be a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. Digital media really brings this genre to life and gives the author unlimited outcomes. Printed books can be limiting in this sense, because the book would need to be a certain length before it becomes too long to be enjoyable. Zork was a very popular form of interactive fiction because it was one of the first of its kind. I was extremely confused by Zork, and I needed to research a little bit about the game first. I managed to get into the building and get the sword and lantern, but that was pretty much it. I could not figure out how to get into the forest and was confused because I thought the entire thing took place underground in tunnels but I had no idea how to get there. The game seems very time consuming and confusing. I think you would have to have an understanding of what the goal is because the website does not really tell you anything.

I looked at the game Galatea by Emily Short and was also very confused. The format is very similar to Zork, but I was not familiar with the Greek myth that it was based off of. The story is about a sculptor who fell in love with the sculpture he made of a woman named Galatea. Aphrodite brings the statue to life and in the game you are talking to her. I am confused about what you are supposed to do during the game and at one point I typed "walk" and it ended the game with my character saying a sassy remark about her not being a beautiful as she thinks she is and then leaving. It makes me think of the program we looked at where you can just talk about your problems to a computer. The author said that it is an unusual game because there is no direct way to winning. I think Zork is more interesting because it is more game-like and there is a more direct goal. You get to explore a bunch of different places, while in Galatea you stay in the same room.

Meg Champagne

Interactive Fiction and Other Gamelike Forms

After reading Scott Rettberg’s description of interactive fiction in chapter four of “Electronic Literature”, I believe the subject is far more similar to video games than it is to text literature itself. This is because the reader is in control of what the character in the story gets to do, not the author. Yes, we almost all read the “choose your own adventure” stories in elementary school, but the difference between those and interactive fiction from the 1980s is that the majority of interactive fiction works were designed to be “‘won’ or ‘solved’” and contained elements such as puzzle solving, riddles, and placed a large emphasis on deductive reasoning. I found it particularly interesting that interactive fiction developed “largely independently of academic environments and formally organized groups”, because it made me envision these literary/gaming nerds huddled in a basement somewhere pouring over their work, like a forgotten AV club in a classic highschool film. Although this isn’t exactly how it all went down - it was a global network of emails and online competitions - It’s much more entertaining to envision it this way, and is partially true. As the world moved on to videogame formatting we’re more familiar with today, many passionate intellectuals continued to pursue interactive fiction. 
I decided to investigate Photopia. I absolutely loved it’s opening which is a black screen with a white text box which reads: “‘Will you read me a story?’ ‘Read you a story? What fun would that be? I’ve got a better idea: let’s tell a story together’”. The pros of this story are that you get to decide what happens to the main character, however that is also the con. The story is entirely up to you, there are no multiple choice options. The program responds to exactly what you type, as long as it is a command it is familiar with, such as “look” or “go north”, however it doesn’t recognize phrases such as “walk around” or “continue traveling”. At first it’s discouraging when the coding doesn’t recognize what you want to do and you’re stuck in the same scene, but once you get the hang of it it’s very cool. At one point, the screen switched to an entirely new character, setting, time, everything and that was disappointing because I was really enjoying the story I was already working on. All in all, I really liked this format of e-lit once I got the hang of it.

Photopia by Adam Cadre

Sabrina Brown

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Red Riding Hood/Patchwork Girl

None of the hypertexts we read were related to each other. Discussing texts like Choose your own Adventure interests me because I used to read these as a kid and the creativity behind the stories just draws the reader in. The other hypertext I enjoyed was Red Riding Hood, the video clips were somewhat amusing to watch, and the music was also interesting. This idea felt very interactive and felt more enjoyable to interact with than some other hypertexts. I believe that red riding hood feels more interactive versus stories like Patchwork Girl. With the animations and other decisions being made created more of an addiction to keep going. Patchwork Girl was weird in my opinion since there was no real direction and depending where you clicked you might start at the end of the story. I believe I started near the end then kept jumping throughout the story, so it felt it had no direction therefore I didn’t really enjoy it. When I think of hypertext, I think of it being interactive and red riding hood felt way more interactive than patchwork girl.

I think it would be interesting to try to create a hypertext story that has multiple outcomes depending on the reader choices. Like I said before I would rather do something with video clips or more digital media components versus straight text reading but that’s just my opinion. Hypertext within video has evolved within video games as well. Similar choices are made in most single player games today, whether you choose right or wrong the story still moves on in different directions. I enjoy seeing things like this and seeing it evolve more into media outlets.

Mason Sweet

Patchwork/ Red Riding Hood

I liked Patchwork Girl because while it was difficult to navigate I enjoyed the Frankenstein references. As one of my favorite novels, I liked the comparisons and quotes pulled from Shelley's works. As for the. hypertext in all, it was hard to figure it out in terms of storyline and was generally very confusing. Some of the sections had few choices while others had a ton of options to click on. Some parts were black and white and others colored and while the storyline connected I found the general web of it all very. disorganized. However, I liked the story and it was cool to experience this sort of Hypertext. I think it was a solid introductory work to test out.

As for Red Riding Hood, I liked it. it better in the sense it was a lot more guided and easier to navigate. There were a few choices and it. seemed more instructed. I followed the story and overall it seemed less like hypertext and more like a movie. I thoroughly enjoyed the animation and it was cool to see the differences of that versus Patchwork Girl

Patchwork Girl and More Hypertext

At first I found reading hypertext to be very confusing and almost frustrating, however I have now grown quite fond of it’s disarray. I found that reading Patchwork Girl left me nauseated, possibly due to the gruesome depictions of the monster’s body decaying or perhaps because of the way the story bounces from scene to scene, narrator to monster. Although the feeling of reading the work was unpleasant it should be recognized as impressive to instil that sort of reaction in a reader. These Waves of Girls jumped around in a similar manner to Patchwork Girl, however I didn’t have such a negative reaction to this work. They way the narrator told her stories it was as if I was talking to a familiar friend late at night, just passing back and forth memories. Also, when the story did switch perspectives it was made distinctly clear, whereas in Patchwork Girl it was really hard to discern who was speaking at times. This was probably my favorite piece of hypertext we have looked at because at the end of looking over all the fragments of writing and art they came together to form a story, a little choppy at times but still a flowing story with distinguishable characters and plot lines. 

Red Riding Hood was formatted quite differently from The Patchwork Girl and These Waves of Girls. It was more interactive and focused on pictures and music rather than words. I personally prefer a combination, however I did enjoy a piece I found that played music while tiny grey houses moved on tiny pointed feet when poked. However, once I had returned to the homescreen I was unable to locate it again, which was sad. Entre Ville was a nice combination of words and artwork that I had assumed I would enjoy, however it felt as if it was lacking something. It was interesting, but I was not as impressed with it as I was with other pieces we have looked at. 

Sabrina Brown 

My Thoughts on Patchwork Girl and Entre Ville

Patchwork Girl is a story with sections of the text disassembled and hidden throughout the website. This way of writing makes it so that each reader has a somewhat unique experience with the same story.  Each section was pretty eerie and creepy, so if you're into that kind of stuff then this was probably very intriguing for you. I personally felt that the fragmented pieces of plot made it harder to follow the storyline but overall it enhanced the piece because of the adventure the audience has to go on in order to figure out whats going on. I also felt like the words carried a deeper meaning when read this way as opposed to reading it as a whole chapter would have. Honestly I didn't realize it was about Frankenstein until I heard someone in the class mention it and then I understood the bigger picture a lot more. It was a cool way to interpret the writing but the visual aspects (and lack of color) were not that appealing to me.

I really enjoyed Entre Ville by J.R. Carpenter a lot more than I did the Patchwork Girl. Maybe that's because it was more of a modern tale or because the illustrations and media were more entertaining. I like the way it was set up and how the different windows and doors led to a new video because it made the story seem more textured and interesting. I think it was very easy to feel connected to this story. I like how Carpenter incorporated video and sound to this work. Those portions made the journey through this story seem more interesting and held my attention. It also felt like a deeply personal experience, kind of like looking into someone's journal and thoughts.

Maddie Ireland

Patchwork Girl and Red Riding Hood

When I first opened Red Riding Hood, I was confused to say the least. It just wasn't very clear where to click and instead of it being a reading hypertext it was more of a visual. My initial thought on this was, "why don't they just make this story a video?" I guess this is one of the downsides of hypertext in my opinion. I wouldn't mind clicking when selecting major decisions like "wake her up" or "let her sleep" because this seemed to be the beginning of altering the story. But, it just seemed like I was clicking in random places on the screen. However, I do get that the hypertext is supposed to engage the reader. The storyline was kind of unclear to me. I don't know if I was just selecting the wrong things but the ending seemed to be very abrupt. Honestly, the most interesting part of the experience was reading the credits.

As for Patchwork Girl, I was confused with that story too but I could kind of piece together what it was trying to get at. Knowing the background of the story was in relation to Frankenstein made it make more sense. I thought the title of the hypertext was also very fitting since you had to "patch" the story together. To me, it was more clear of where to click for the story. Even though I don't think I ever got a full ending it was more interesting to analyze the story and click around. Also being able to actually read and not just figure out where I'm supposed to click the whole time made me a little more patient with the hypertext and more bearable to get through the story.

Cassie H

Patchwork Girl and Red Riding Hood

Patchwork Girl was a story created by having the reader go through seemingly unordered sections until they have read enough to put the story together. Throughout reading, a lot of the information gathered tells about a female monster that was created similar to Frankenstein's monster. There are references to the author of Frankenstein, where the body parts came from, the scars on the monster's body and the comparison between creator and creature. There are scenes in graveyards, taking a walk, and interesting bits about writing. The visual atmosphere of the hypertext is really empty, leaving the reader to view only the visual image of boxes and a drawing of the patchwork girl. I thought that even though this idea could be seen as symbolic, it left me bored and tired of trying to read until I understand what is going on. I liked clicking the boxes more than I liked being confused when I tried to read them. The best substance was the origins of the body parts in my opinion.

The second story I looked at was Red Riding Hood. It was a hypertext that engaged the reader more with clicking visuals to continue the story. There is a scene where the reader chooses if Red Riding Hood dreams or not and that is where the story becomes wild. At some points it can be very confusing. Sometimes it isn't always obvious what to click, or why the wolf turns from an animal to a man. Yet, it was interesting and sort of short if you didn't let Red sleep. At either ends, it didn't make complete sense. There was a lot of pregnancy and randomness incorporated. I still thought the story was hard to follow and the alarm sound at the end of the dream path felt unexplained. I needed to read about the actual story in order to make sense of what I was playing. I thought at first that it was some story about Red Riding Hood getting raped if she keeps sleeping and then choosing if the baby grows or not is like aborting it...

Patchwork Girl and Entre Ville

My favorite reading from this week was Patchwork Girl. I was so intrigued by the story and loved how there was a narrative despite the discombobulated text entries and the shift in a narrator. I really enjoyed piecing together the pieces of the puzzle (pun intended) and coming up with my own interpretation of the story. It was really cool to feel like I had control in how the story went by deciding which words and links I wanted to follow as I read, and being able to stop wherever I saw a fit ending.

I also enjoyed Entre Ville by J.R. Carpenter. The first thing I clicked on was the dog in the bottom lefthand corner and I was brought to a story about a dog taking walks with its owners. The story was written in very simple language, but it was a metaphor for taking the time to find stories in every step you take, which I thought was really meaningful. The story was readable by hovering the mouse over a down arrow to scroll and what I liked about this feature is that you weren’t able to tell how long the story was or where it ended. You just had to keep scrolling and enjoy the story as it was, not worrying about how long it was or where the end was.

I then looked at a window in the upper righthand corner which led to a little blurb about a trumpet player followed by a video of an open window in the city with trumpet music playing. I loved this link because it was so simple but also so immersive and imaginative. Nearly every link on the page led me to a similar experience, and the more and more I clicked around, the more and more I felt like I actually lived in this apartment building on this city street.

I loved looking at all of these sites. From These Waves of Girls to Red Riding Hood to Entre Ville to Patchwork Girl, they’re all so unique and such original works of art that engage anyone with access to a computer. It’s incredible how many possibilities there are for hypertext. Though many of the sites are pretty simplistic at first glance, they are all so intricate and far more detailed than meets the eye. I love that part of the purpose and enjoyment of hypertext is the digging through content looking for clues, for stories, and for so many elements that truly couldn’t be expressed through any other medium.


Red Riding Hood and Entre Ville/Patchwork Girl

I consider Patchwork girl and Entre Ville both very boring works of E-lit. Patchwork girl was just to confusing for me and I got lost in class. This could also just be because I don’t like Frankenstein that much either. Entre Ville felt like a weird, French, walkthrough of a house. I didn’t understand the videos an it felt like some weird new age art piece, even though it’s not necessarily new anymore. I tend to like more game like works of e-lit, or at least some clarity regarding structure and purpose. If the purpose of the piece lies withing the structure, make it clear.
Red riding hood was much more fun for me and easier to get through. I liked how it was playable and allowed the reader to alter things, or at least gave us the illusion of alteration. The story wasn’t really easy to follow but that was due to the narrative itself, I wouldn’t have understood the story even if it was written out. It seems like some kind of unfortunate example of sexual misconduct. I didn’t really know. But what I can easily conclude from these works is that I enjoy a more game like story more than an edgy, mix of visuals and text. Also I loved the little beats in red riding hood, the audio helped set the vibe from the very beginning.

Entre Ville by JR Carpenter & Red Riding Hood by Donna Leishman

After reading the text and viewing the website I thought Entre Ville was easier to read compared to Patchwork Girl. The first thing I noticed with Entre Ville is when you hover over an object, it would change making it easier to know which object opens up a new text. This was one of my problems with Patchwork Girl is I kept getting lost in the text because it does not make it easier to move across the sections. Another part of Entre Ville I enjoyed was it opened up a new tab making it easier to follow the story. The use of pictures were also creatively used because the text in the story had a direct correlation. The story within Entre Ville that was the most interesting to me was the "Sniffing for Stories". I though it was interesting how the first paragraph was from a dogs perspective and in the next paragraph is about observing the dog.

I thought Red Riding Hood was the easiest to follow because it was a fairly linear story compared to Patchwork Girl and Entre Ville. Despite it being it being the hypertext with the least amount of text it was still easy to follow because it is retelling a popular story. The use of visual play a key role similar to Entre Ville, but unlike Entre Ville I felt Red Riding Hood relied on images more instead of text.

Tim W

JR Carpenter & Donna Leishman

When looking at Red Riding Hood, I felt as though the structure of the story was very much like a video game. Being able to select certain areas on the display to further the story made it as though you were able to control Red Riding Hood. I understand the concept of the simulation, although I do think that some parts were rather odd. When looking at Entre Ville, I was very confused at first. This is because of how vague and bland some of it was. However, it was simple enough when looking more directly that the scrollable story corresponded with the sounds in the videos. This is something that I think is very valuable about E-lit when comparing it to traditional printed text. Even though print can tell a story, it does not allow you to hear sounds or effects like one is able to through E-lit. 

Ryan Donahue 
For me hypertext is not as enjoyable to read as traditional text; that is not to say that hypertext is not interesting, but my main issue is that there is no guidance with hypertext. It is hard for me to piece together a story from many separate, seemingly incoherent, parts. In Patchwork Girl there were many different perspectives: the perspective of the creature, the creator, and the original owner of body parts. When I was reading Patchwork Girl, I started by reading the origins of the creature’s body parts, then I was reading from the perspective of the creator. This sudden changing perspective raised many questions for me: how the creator found these parts, and why did they make the creature. This format also fails to establish things like the time period; however, these questions are probably answered somewhere in the hypertext, but I was unable to find answers during my time reading. The other hypertext I read was These Waves of Girls, by Caitlin Fisher. This story seems to be an autobiographical hypertext about the author growing up as a lesbian. The story does not change perspective, but changes time: at one point the author is a young girl and then jumps ahead to her in high school. This hypertext was easier to put together because it follows one story and one perspective. This means that each hyperlink is a different part of one timeline, but I still had issues because there was no sense of closure for me. This is not to say that I dislike hypertext. I think there are many interesting aspects of hypertext, but the format of these works is incredibly different from traditional text. I am accustomed to pages guiding me and having closure with the back cover. Hypertext changes the way you read stories and will take time to become accustomed to them.

Entre Ville by JR Carpenter and Red Riding Hood by Donna Leishman

One of the first things I noticed about Red Riding Hood was that there was barely any writing in it and that no words were spoken, which makes me wonder how big of a range of media digital literature is. It felt like a video game, and I replayed it many times to see if I could try to change the ending, and I couldn't. The format makes the viewer feel like they are in control, but they are not. The hip-hop style music and the artistic style of the drawings completely changed the tone of the classic little red riding hood story. I also noticed small details that made it much more modern, like the buildings and the characters' clothes. I was very confused by the ending, when Red ends up in the bed and the wolf sneaks up on her with a gun. When you scroll your mouse over her stomach it shows a baby, which I think is trying to show that she is pregnant. I thought it would give you a chance to save her, but the ending felt very abrupt.

I felt that Entre Ville was much more poetic and artsy in comparison to Red Riding Hood. I liked how the home page is the poem and then all of the different pop ups give the reader a visual and audio representation of the different stanzas. This piece is a perfect example of how digital literature can elevate a piece of writing and give it more depth. Not only do you read how hot and unbearable the city is, but you also see the bed sheets, and you can hear various noises coming from the street. The visuals help make the reader relate more and they are transported into the story that the poem tells. Entre Ville is like a snapshot of a period of time experienced by the author in their city.

Meg Champagne

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Chapter 3 Blog Post

Chapter Three of Electronic Literature, written by Scott Rettberg, is about hypertext fiction. Hypertext fiction is defined as, "The first form of electronic literature" and "a bridge between the literary experimentation of the late twentieth century and the cultural shifts accompanying the the move to networked computing". Hypertext was historically relevant due to it's use as a modern and post-modern platform. Though many study it, not many people today utilize it. Looking into hypertext, I found an article called "The Secret History of Hypertext" which I found really interesting.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

chapter 3- hypertexts

While I grew up reading choose your own adventure books, I had no idea there was a name for the online version. It's called hypertext and that's all that chapter three discusses. From the early hypertext theorists to the point of it all, I learned a lot about the origin and concept of allowing readers to be in control of texts.  Also known as a "fiction of possibilities" modern hypertexts move towards collage and remix work. I liked how hypertexts were not described as a "kind of writing" but more so a "text technology." Hypertext has inspired all sorts of researchers in a number of fields with its system of writing including flexibility, navigation and associating documents. There was a lot in this chapter that interested me in that I knew the general idea of hypertext but no other knowledge despite the fact I enjoyed these sorts of interactive books.

A point of reference that I looked up more information on was a person named Michael Joyce who published the first hypertext on the Storyspace platform. "Afternoon, a story" is a complicated hypertext with random links, unmarked weblinks and leads readers on a journey attempting to mirror that. of the main characters. I liked how this particular piece of work was made not just to incorporate the readers but let the readers have a conscious feel and really immerse themselves in the theme of h\the writing, mimicking the character in the novel.

Kendall Arkay
This chapter was all about defining and understanding Hypertext. It discusses the advantages of electronic literature and the important of hyperlink. The ability to be able to search through a wide ranges of sources allows for us to gain different perspectives and ideas. Hypertext built a solid base for electronic literature to grow and adapt to the study that it currently is. The unique way we can now process and connect information on the web adds an interesting new element to learning. This process definitely takes some getting used to. It feels very strange and all over the place but I understand the art of it. Our activity we did in class and making collages was tough for me because I am used to structure, rules and organization. Seeing the piece finally come together in the end after not really having any idea of what direction I was going in felt very freeing.


What's the HYPErtext about?

In Chapter 3 of Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg, the focus was the definition and history of Hypertext. Hypertext is essentially literature expressed through a unique digital platform which includes the eras of modernism and postmodernism. As described within the book, hypertext also progressed in postmodernism through Metafiction, a story that refers back to itself. Metafiction changes the dynamic between author, reader and text by bringing the author into the story in some way (Rettberg). This compares to early hypertext fiction such as Uncle Roger, which allows the reader to interact with the text. In chapter 3, Rettberg quotes Judy Malloy on the ideal aspects of the story where a reader would witness and observe the same from the story as they would in real life. Both Metafiction and Judy Malloy's fiction play with a reality within the false reality.

For the reference, I looked into Uncle Roger by Judy Malloy. The piece, which had a rather intriguing description, functions by key words and phrases. It does seem like a story that is pieced together the way a person pieces together a memory, or a large event. A surrounding such as a party has a lot to take in and some things would be remembered by objects or people. That makes it more engaging and memorable. There is also only like three colors that highlight the text and it does well to keep navigation less confusing.

Uncle Roger



When reading chapter 3 in Electronic Literature: What is it? I was interested in reading about the different aspects of hypertext. The basis of the chapter was to explain how hypertext puts electronic literature above traditional print work. "Early hypertext theorists, notably George Landow and Jay David Bolter, (Note 83) stressed the importance of the hyperlink as electronic literature's distinguishing feature, extrapolating from the reader's ability to choose which link to follow to make extravagant claims about hypertext as a liberatory mode that would dramatically transform reading and writing and, by implication, settings where these activities are important such as the literature classroom (Hayles, Ch 3). A hyperlink allows the user to navigate through various sources, essentially broadening the horizon for the reader on the given topic. In other words, hyperlink breaks the boundaries one faces when reading printed work. 

I also found Siobhan Roberts article, Christopher Strachey's nineteen-fifties Love Machine, interesting. The article describes Christopher Strachey's computer program could take seventy base words and produce over billions of results. This further shows how electronic literature does not encounter the same boundaries as printed work. 

Ryan Donahue 

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 follows the same outline as chapter 2, except instead of combinatory poetics, it talks about hypertext. Rettberg talks about the early influences on hypertext work from before digital literature. Like the dada movement inspired combinatory poetics, Modernist work has been considered the first influence for hypertext work. This is because of the frequent referencing to other works within a modernist work. Modernist work is primarily from the early 1900’s until about World War 2. The next influence talked about is Postmodernism. I think Postmodernism influence hypertext much more than Modernist work. Postmodern works are much more experimental and wonky. Originating after WW2, post modern work provides parodies of other works as well as lots of self-deprecating humor. The last unique thing about Post-modern literature is the way it plays with structure to tell more of the story. Hypertext seems to draw most from Postmodern works because it tends to be very creative and experimental. Lots of hypertexts have interesting structures with clever interactions to tell a story in a totally new and unique way. I like Rettberg’s definition of hypertext as a sort of “text technology” as it seems broader when juxtaposed to a digital essay or something. Hypertext peaked around 95-04 and has definitely been a huge influence to other digital mediums.
               I looked into “Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse” because of the intriguing name. At first it seemed really cool with the little song in the beginning and the mini games you could choose from. It is set up as an od mac desktop emulator, It feels really retro and kind of like an awesome little game. I clicked on the hyperglobe game and ended up getting stuck on that one game. In order to re-enter the work, the site wanted me to redownload the software. In order to not have duplicate files, I stopped there.

Hypertext Fiction

Chapter three of Electronic Literature discusses Hypertext Fiction. Scott Rettberg explains how hypertext, although not the oldest form of electronic literature, may be the most important. Rettberg explains that this is because hypertext created a “small critical industry” that led to the establishment of electronic literature as the “field of academic research and practice” that it is today. There may not be as many recent works of hypertext as there are of other forms of electronic literature, but there are arguably more important works that helped lay the foundation for the subject. I learned that the H in HTML stands for "hypertext", which although should be common knowledge was unknown to me. To me, this represents the influence that hypertext still holds in our lives today, even if we are unaware of its influence. Rettberg explains the mechanics of hypertext by writing that it is “an approach to organizing, structuring, and sharing information”. To me, this definition seems inaccurate, because every piece of hypertext I have read has seemed very disorganized and the message not quite structured at all. However, I do believe it is an effective way of sharing information, pieces I assumed would be boring were actually quite creative and engaging. 

I would most certainly not consider Serge Bouchardon’s piece, Loss of Grasp, organized. His piece of electronic literature is an interactive webface which allows the user “to experience through gestures events which the narrator has already experienced”. The webpage is a combination of text, which is altered and layered through the user clicking of hovering their cursor on the words. At times, the story continues without requiring any user instruction, but other times the story would require engagement from the reader. The page also allows the user to activate their webcam, which I personally chose not to do. However, Rettberg’s description of Loss of Grasp in Electronic Literature states that this is done “to visually mirror a sense of deep ennui”, which I’m sure is true, the front facing camera is never flattering. Overall, I found Bouchardon’s work confusing, but it was also the first piece of hypertext that I felt interested with and marveled at. 

Sabrina Brown

Blog 3 - Hypertext Fiction

To be completely honest, I had no idea that the “H” in “HTML” stood for “hypertext” and that practically everything we read online is considered hypertext. I guess until this class I’d never really given much thought to the difference between online literature and literature on paper, but in actuality, it’s not that different. Writers have been creating works similar to hypertext fiction since the early 20th century, incorporating modernist ideas into their writing to create works which use “literary represent language differently in portraying associative thought than in communicating conversational discourse,” a concept that is also associated with hypertext (Rettberg 56). Modernist ideas that breathe life into hypertext have been around for nearly a century if not longer which I found to be highly interesting. Rettberg discusses a piece by Julio Cortazar called “Hopscotch” which consists of 155 chapters, 99 of which can be read in absolutely any order. This style of writing gives the reader the freedom to choose how they wish to interpret the book. They can read the book from start to finish or they can skim arbitrarily and have no direction at all in their reading. There is no wrong answer.

I took a closer look at Cortazar’s work. According to Wikipedia, “Some of the "expendable" chapters at first seem like random musings, but upon closer inspection solve questions that arise during the reading of the first two parts of the book.” Despite its randomness and lack of structure, “Hopscotch” is still a complete novel with a beginning, middle, and end, it simply encourages readers to decide the order of those events. Like a puzzle, hypertext fiction lays all the pieces out for the reader and then allows them to complete the story however they process the project. The likes of hypertext fiction have been around for decades, but computers have made the genre highly interactive, accessible, and fast. As Rettberg notes, it is a “‘fiction of possibilities,’” a “hybrid form of interactive fiction,” and a “foundation for many new types of literary work in digital media” (Rettberg 57, 86).


Ch. 3 Hypertext Fiction

In the chapter about hypertext fiction, it is explored how the genre emerged in literary, historical and technological content. This chapter reminded me greatly on what we focused on during the first weeks writing of electronic literature and how sources can allow for a reader to connect and follow through prior knowledge. Hypertext allows for an expansion of knowledge or to further a story which gives an interesting twice on fictional and nonfictional writing.

Hypertext fundamentally is a text technology that can organize, structure and share information. Around the 1990's when hypertext was introduced concepts were formed in contemporary literacy and semiological theory (55). Contemporary literacy allows for easy access to information in a variety of sources. Semilogical theory is an account for significance, representation and reference within a meaning. While these hypertexts are meant to be useful it was found that critics have said hypertexts can decenter the reader's experience. This is also because of authorial power. Authorial power is when the author and reader start being in a reconfiguration. It's claimed these reconfigurations of hypertexts aren't actually furthering a reader but actually constraining them. This constraint meant that research was not being done as freely as possible and not being able to visit finer points may allow for an exploration into new topics and losing focus. Now, it seems that modern influencers believe that computational poetry and narrative generators that use avant-grade hypertext fiction in experimental writing are more optimistic to hypertext. Modernism calls for not just practices by modernist but what is produced in technique.

To me, I understand how hypertexts could be a restraint but most times I believe they are an option. It is helpful and rather convenient to know something is there if I need it. The idea of modernism in hypertext also I think can be a way to involve new techniques in technology but also allow for history to be revisited. It is interesting to understand how these topics have developed.

Cassie Haskell

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 in Electronic Literature focuses on hypertext fiction. The interest in hypertext began around the 1980s and grew into the 1990s. The section that interested me was Metafiction and reflexivity. In this section Rettburg discusses the idea of authorial reflexivity and intertextual reflexivity. Authorial reflexivity is related to the appearance of the author that appears within the "enclosed diegetic system" (59). Kurt Vonnegut and John Barth are a few examples of authors who have had characters sharing their name. Rettburg discussed how these authors included characters with their name in order to "serve not only as a form of resistance...but also as a way to break down the structure of relations" (59). Intertextual reflexivity is about the writings relationship with other literary texts. Gulliver's Travels and Breakfast of Champions are a few examples that are related to Intertextual reflexivity. Rettburg states how hypertext "is not only or even primarily a kind of writing. It is more fundamentally a text technology" (62). I thought it was interesting hearing about where hypertext is found including the meaning of HTML and how the "H" means hypertext. The term hypertext was created by Theodor Holm Nelson who defined hypertext as "to mean a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in such a complex way" (64).

The reference I chose was Theodor Nelson's paper "A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate". Nelson is considered an important figure in information technology because his impact towards hypertext. He created the terms hypertext and hypermedia and created Project Xanadu which was the first hypertext project. His paper focuses on the Evolutionary List File (ELF) which is a structure on organizing documents. He organizes ELF into three different groups: entries, lists, and links.  He defines the list as an "ordered set of entries designated by the user" (36). An entry is defined as "a discrete unit of information designated by the user" (35). A link is defined as "a connector, designated by the user" (36).


Most postmodernist works have aspects of metafiction and reflexivity. Metafiction is when the story has a plot and characters like any other story; however, metafiction rejects traditional narrative conventions. The authors are aware of what typical conventions are, and actively try to subvert those conventions. Reflexivity primarily comes in two forms: authorial reflexivity and intertextual reflexivity. Authorial reflexivity is when the author appears in the text, while intertextual reflexivity is when the author references their own work and other works as text. These aspects of postmodernist works are also present in many hypertext works as well. As previously mentioned, most postmodernists are concerned with metafiction, and hypertext fiction is an excellent medium to change narrative. Hypertext allows the author to create an extremely complicated “choose your own adventure” book by limiting what the reader can read based on their previous choices. In the hypertext fiction afternoon, a story, the protagonist is uncertain if his ex-wife and son were in an accident. Readers are only given a paragraph of text connected by hyperlinks; however, there are many different hyperlinks and different results for the same hyperlink. This is an excellent example of how hyperlink fiction can be used in an innovative way; changing conventional form of the text to paragraphs instead of pages, and not having clear chronological order for a story. This is something that cannot be achieved through traditional text; even stories that reject traditional narrative structures are limited by pages having a certain order. That is what I found interesting about hypertext fiction: it allows authors to alter the form and sequence of stories in ways that were impossible with books. With some hypertext stories you could potentially never read everything, and sometimes there will not be the closer of reading a book cover to cover.

Chapter 3.

Hypertext fiction puts the control into the readers hands, authors of hypertext fiction can design their stories through these hypertext's/links that create different stories based on what hypertext you choose. As you choose options throughout the text to further the story than you slowly develop an alternate ending based on your choices. In most hypertext fiction there are multiple endings. So, if you and a friend read the same story but make different choices you both will have different ending to the story. The rise of technology helps stories like this grow in popularity since hyperlinks are used on basically every website or digital written literature. This growth in tech helps the stories use more resources as well and since you can hyperlink to anything it could be just another story line, or an image that helps you determine what option to choose later in the story. Hypertext fiction is kind of like a crappy GPS, when you think you should go left but the GPS says go right you will end in different places just like in a hypertext fiction book.

When I think of hypertext fiction I think back to the Choose your own Adventure series from the 1990’s we talk a little bit about these in class but I remember when growing up and reading these in middle school having to always argue with friends because we had different scenarios/endings and we both wanted to prove that we made the right choices. Only having read a few of the series, there are over 180 books that take you on basically any adventure you want. Being able to make these choices while reading creates a more interactive story in which you have control versus reading completely what other wrote. Your decisions impact the ending and that’s what made these books so fun to read.

Mason Sweet

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Chapter 3: Hypertext Fiction

Hypertext fiction is very interesting because it gives the author a lot of freedom when constructing a story. I feel like hypertext is at the center of digital literature because it allows the reader to interact with the work, keeping them engaged with the story. It allows the writer to create multiple storylines and there is no true ending, which is what sets this genre apart from traditional print. The story can be interpreted in different ways and if there are enough options, the reader may not even read every single ending. Since the story is not linear, the reader does not get the same closure that they would get with a book. The digital media is essential for this genre because it makes it much easier to quickly be taken to a different story. A lot of paper would be required for these stories to be printed. Hypertext also allows the reader to click on different links that could be on a diagram, map, or picture.

I decided to look up Victory Garden by Stuart Moulthrop. It is a hypertext story that takes place during the Gulf War and you can explore the story through different characters. The story is centered around a girl named Emily and something I found really interesting is that there are multiple ends to the story. In one ending, Emily dies, but in another ending she makes it home alive. I do think it is interesting that you have some control over how the story ends, but it also bothers me so much not knowing what ending the author prefers. You have to buy the full version so I found a sample online. I think the formatting might be different because when I searched pictures of it I found a map of a garden. It looks much simpler and outdated in the sample version. You also don't get access to as many stories.

Meg Champagne

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


HAPPY GRADUATION to the VERY first class of TBD majors!!! (I wish we could celebrate in person!)