Monthly Archives: November 2018

Thursday, 01 Nov 2018


Discussion Portfolio 3

As before, write a new reflection that showcases your growth since your last submission.


Writing about Digital Literature

As I hope today’s readings demonstrate, digital literature takes on many forms, borrowing some conventions from traditional literature, some conventions from gaming, some conventions from sports, some conventions from computer programming, and inventing some brand new conventions.

Just as there is no one correct way to read a poem, there is no single correct way to read a work of digital literature.

If I told you that Zoe Quinn, the author of “Depression Quest,” was targeted by an organized online community of angry male gamers who accused her of sleeping with a journalist in order to get positive reviews for her game, received death threats, was “doxxed,” and gave rise to a years-long scandal called “Gamergate”?

In August 2014, Quinn was a rising indie game developer, most famous for “Depression Quest,” a no-frills text game about the disabling experience of living with depression. She had just broken up with a physically and emotionally abusive boyfriend, and was looking forward to healthier relationships and a future of video game development. (Quinn’s ex-boyfriend denies her allegations of abuse.)

Then, she says, her life was kicked apart. Quinn’s ex posted a long screed online, accusing her of sleeping with someone in exchange for a positive review. She has consistently maintained that none of this is true, and I believe her.

Nonetheless, that post became the impetus for Gamergate, an online crusade against “ethics in gaming journalism.” In reality, though, the campaign became an excuse for internet trolls to flex their muscles as they worked to destroy the reputation and livelihood of Quinn and others, particularly women and minorities, who expressed feminist or leftist ideas. —NBC News

Just as details from Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s life often affect our understanding of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” details from the lives of game designers can affect our understanding of their digital creations. (Adam Cadre’s younger sister died; Photopia explores the death of a young girl.)


Photopia or Lost Pig

This assignment asks you to sample each of two works of interactive fiction for 15 minutes, and then pick one of these two to sample for another 30 minutes.

Photopia is a work of literary interactive fiction. By that, I mean it does not use silly jokes to keep you entertained, it does not try to deliver a game-like experience. Like John Henry Days, it shifts point of view, jumps around in time, and delves into a dream-like fantasy. The events that you witness (and, to some extent, participate in) during the opening scenario turn out to be very important as the story progresses, but the way the various scenes fit together only becomes clear with time. I ask that you give this one a try. You might team up with a classmate, so you can work it through together.

Lost Pig is much more playful — more deliberately game-like. You’ll see what I mean.


Electronic Literature Sampler

This assignment asks you to sample three different works of interactive fiction for 10 minutes each, and then pick one of those works to interact with for another half hour. (If you get stuck, you may switch to a different work.)

You may choose works that are currently being evaluated in the 2018 “Interactive Fiction Contest“.

Or, you may choose works that were selected for the Electronic Literature Collection Vol 3.

Or, you may search the Interactive Fiction DataBase for games that might interest you. For instance, you could search for the word “horror” or “romance” or “humor.”  You can than sample the reviews of the various games you find. One person has posted a list of “IF that’s a pleasure to read,” and one of the games on that list was written by someone you know.

Some of the games you come across may or may not play on your Macbook; some may require you to install a special player. That’s the nature of this cutting-edge technology. Every book works more or less the same way, but digital literature takes many forms.

Post a brief summary of your experience with the three digital works you sampled, and a more detailed account of your encounter with the work you chose to explore in more detail.

You are of course free to spend more time with any work you chose — the guidelines in this assignment simply ask you to find a work that you’re willing to commit to for a little while.

Tuesday, 06 Nov 2018



Read the whole play Wit.

Tuesday, 13 Nov 2018


Writing About Literature

What have you learned so far about Writing About Literature?

Demonstrate your ability to make connections between the assigned readings (literary, instructional, and scholarly).


Wildcard: Any Course-related Topic You’d Like to Write About

Choose any course-related topic you’d like to write about. Post a blog entry about it. Rather than just posting the URL here, post a statement that encourages your classmates to respond. (“Hey, guys, here’s my writing assignment!” won’t be all that effective. What can you write that will engage your peers? What do YOU find engaging when you read online?)

Thursday, 29 Nov 2018



Spend 15 minutes blogging about any topic related to “Writing About Literature.”