While reading the first few paragraphs of Stefans, “Language as Gameplay”, I must admit that I was a little bit confused as to what electronic literature really was, and if it was more immersive than traditional literature (books, movies, etc.). Are we talking about video games here? Interactive 4D type games like Disney's Toy Story Midway Mania (Toy Story Midway Mania [Full Ride]
) where the player moves through out the seated attraction which features arcade games that they can play from their seats? Yes and no, I suppose. I feel as though these could qualify as engaging gameplay? But are they really electronic literature? Also, I'm not sure they come close to achieve Stefan's "Holy Grail".
As I read on, I began to get a feel for what a electronic literature should posses in order to achieve "grail status" and began to put the pieces together. Something immersive, something with good graphic design, and as Stefan said himself "something that can be read – and which serves as a “game” with all the fun implied in such a designation." (Stefan 2012). I instantly had an idea of what something close to a holy grail might look like for Stefan, and that is “Inanimate Alice” (inanimatealice.com
). Normally, I would never search for this kind of literature on my own, but I came across it in Barbara Vance’s Story Telling in New Media a few years ago and still vividly remember it. Inanimate Alice is a learning tool that tells a story through sound, text, moving image, and allows the user to take part in the story as well. There are often puzzles that the user is invited to solve, as well as choices that the user can make to steer the game in different directions. Thus, Inanimate Alice is immersive, it incorporates good graphic design, and it also acts as a game rather than just a story that one reads. I feel as though Stefan would approve of Inanimate Alice as I do.
After finishing the reading, and relating it to Inanimate Alice, I am convinced that in some occasions electronic literature certainly can be more immersive than traditional literature because it incorporates everything that makes traditional literature successful (good story telling, immersion, etc) and takes it to the next level by adding moving image and being interactive.