ELC Review- Keyword: “Games”

 The Electronic Literature Collection has been divided up into keywords for easy navigation. Under the keyword, “Games” falls seven different pieces; some of which do the keyword justice and some that fall short. Digital gaming is broad sector consisting of video, arcade and computer games; a category too broad to place the pieces of this keyword under. Even if we place it under the category of computer games, it still doesn’t really live up to the expectations of a computer game. The aim of the pieces in this keyword is to use text and interactivity (Taking advantage of the computer input devices) to convey a message or a story to the reader.

A computer game should be able to keep an individual engaged. Using tasks that lead up to a goal, points, rankings, etc. the gamer should remain entertained. Many of the games in the ELC are dynamic in the sense that they have the potential to be different each time they are played. However, many of the games were too difficult to understand because the instructions were too broad and there were not clear guidelines. For many of the more complicated ones I just gave up (Ex. Jean-Pierre Balpe ou les Lettres Dérangées). Also, in a few of them there was no real “Right” or “Wrong” therefore there was no indication or incentive to the gamer on how well they were doing. The issue of accessibility was also a problem. Numerous games require complicated downloads (All Roads, Bad Machine, and Savoir-Faire ) which many people wouldn’t want to accept for the risk of their computer being harmed by potential viruses.

There is a lot of potential under the keyword “Games” for the pieces to be engaging, entertaining and enticing to modern generations considering the widespread interest and consummation of digital gaming. On the other hand, in the couple cases of games under this keyword that I actually liked (Stud Poetry, for example), I don’t think had much literary value. In the case of the ELC, I don’t think digital gaming and literature seem to mesh well. A gain in one of those elements seems to be a loss in the other. All-in-all, I’d rather just read a novel or a poem and play my digital games separately. Besides Stud Poetry (Which took up about four hours of my Saturday afternoon) and carrier (becoming symborg), I wasn’t engaged by the pieces under this category in the ELC and I can’t say I’d recommend them. Using the keyword “Games” to classify these pieces gives the individual a misguided preconception with high standards that aren’t fufilled.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “ELC Review- Keyword: “Games”

  1. timepolice

    You’re completely write. The category I think should be changed to “game-ish.”

    Though eLit does have its rewards they are completely separate from quantifiable points (like Strickland says in her 11 Dimensions article, ‘quest points’ that represent accumulated experience are more important than ‘winning’ per se). The difficulty in navigating these pieces intensifies the significance of finally understanding them. The challenges the player goes through, I think, are meant to bond him with the content.

    But to be honest the challenges are not that much fun. Epic narrative video-games (any Legend of Zelda installment, for instance, or Shadow of the Colossus) tell awesome stories that are revealed in pieces as you overcome the game’s trials. But the trials are rewarding too! The struggles of learning how to navigate an interface and of organizing narrative meaning are both amusing in the modern game. The eLit experience seems kind of cold in comparison.

    • Aurelea

      I am intrigued by your use of the word “cold” here.

      Are you activating “hot” and “cool” in the sense that they are used by Marshall McLuhan in UNDERSTANDING MEDIA (1964)?

      If so, then it is arguably fitting to designate E-Lit as cold . . .

    • ashlethe

      I have similar agreements. Not only did I find many of the pieces significantly inaccessible, (for example attempting to download gargoyle and unzip a file that wouldn’t unzip or open), but the broad instructions and unclear guidelines certainly did not assist in making the games more engaging to ‘play’. It also made some of the games simply plain confusing. Likewise, I gave up with some of the more complicated ones as well.

      Also, while it may be a good point that digital gaming and literature do not mesh well in the ELC, I might add that it doesn’t necessarily mean that these two genres cannot do so; merely that the meshing wasn’t very well done in this case.

  2. timepolice

    oh that’s helllz embarassing

    *you’re completely RIGHT

  3. Exactly.. In narrative video games there’s more incentive to complete the tasks. Whether it be getting to the next level or whatnot, and in the end you do get something out of it and the story comes full circle, giving someone a sense of completion. I think in most of these “Games” you don’t really get that and to be completely honest, I think the majority of the general public, including me, doesn’t find gratification in making our own headlines (Oulipoems). The keyword just seems very misleading and doesn’t meet the standards that our society holds for computer games.

    I’m glad someone agrees..
    Oh and I’ll forget you spelt “Right” wrong. haha

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