If you're really curious about electronic literature and how it works, then set aside your Kindle, iPad, nook, or other handheld computerized reading device, go to your computer and search for the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO). (But since you're already here, go ahead and check out the link now or when you've finished reading.) The ELO is the internet portal to finding dozens, if not more, literary texts that have been created to epitomize the synthesis of writing and the internet. The result has been an amazing new realm of work that goes beyond interactive fiction games.
In Literature Collection Volume One, I immediately thought that this first website was the portal to hundreds of different possibilities, even if many of them originate from the same original source. All of the literary, visual, or auditory creations in the first collection offer you possibilities to explore and learn the unknown.
At the start of my exploration, I came across three sites/games that I wanted to further explore: "Storyland," "myBall," and "RedRidingHood."
I was drawn to "Storyland" even as I was somewhat put off by the continuous circus music that brought to mind too many images of bad horror movies. The potential to repeatedly click a button and a story was created "roulette" style was intriguing to my slightly scattered brain. "Storyland" is a unique "roulette" style story, although it creates stories revolving around negative human aspects, particularly greed. Each new story has at least three characters (all the times I played it did) and very briefly relates these character's interactions with each other. Some stories seemed to end harmlessly while others definitively held a darker overtone. However, these same yet different qualities were exactly what kept me clicking the "New Story" button. There was always a new story to be told, even if I thought I'd read the story before.
"myBall" also immediately hooked my mind by this supposed "ball" creation because I think it resembles something that mankind might make in the future. Not only this, but I think it might have represent a rift in human interaction as well, fulfilling several science fiction movies and novels where humans never physically interact anymore and the government has monitoring devices everywhere. (you can tell I've read too many of these already.) Alright, I went and actually interacted with the "myBall" program for a bit, and I'll tell you right now that if this machine is ever invented, I'm moving far, far away. These little surveillance balls essentially eliminate the need for human interaction (or attempt to) and seek to completely undermine the parent-child bond while at the same time allowing adults to control what content their child learns. In essence, this is brain washing at its best in the form of a "harmless" red ball. This was an amazing piece of electronic literature to go through and read, if only because it is frightening in its future possibilities.
The last story, "RedRidingHood" caught my eye because I like fairy tales, but this re-telling of an old favorite promised some new twists in its plot. After all, you only need to look at the cartoon picture of Red to see that she's not the typical sweet little girl who's taking a picnic basket to her grandmother. After taking my turn through this interactive game-narrative a couple of times, I think this may be the strangest version of "Red Riding Hood" that I have ever encountered. The creator's basis for this game was to determine if point-click interaction with a story hurt detracted from one's experience with the story. (This is my best handle on the situation, at least.) While I did appreciate some slight amount of involvement with the story, I really hated how I could click on items or "roll" over them with the cursor and nothing would happen. If you weren't clicking on the correct items to move the story along, you were left stuck in that particular section of the story. I guess "Red Riding Hood" is a story best left to readers without choices, or at least only choices where it's possible to move the story along rather than limited, but teasing, interaction.
All in all, there are numerous more stories, pictures, songs to to be heard on this site and I went back to see some more. I visited some old favorites, like "Carving in Possibilities" and "Dawn," but I explored a few others too. I explored those projects that immediately ignited my curiosity or drew me to them for some strange, unknown quality. It was a singular experience to say the least; one that is both new and exciting, while yet limiting in some of the stories.
However, I also realized the argument of Espen Aarseth that cybertext is a creation all its own, that it's nearly impossible (or a waste of time perhaps) to judge, analyze, and hold cybertext creations to the same standards as other literature. Aarseth's Cybertext novel simplifies a key element present within much of ELO's works: "when you read from a cybertext, you are constantly reminded of inaccessible strategies and paths not taken, voices not heard. Each decision will make some parts of the text more, and others less, accessible and you may never know the exact results of your choices..." (3).
Now click on over to my classmate's blogs and find out what they played. You might find your perfect electronic text to interact with.