Particularities of Electronic Literature - Intersecting Media
The nature of the media in Book and Volume is remarkably uniform, in that it consists almost entirely of text. As I played the game, however, I did come to rely more and more on the very small map image generated upon each movement. Although consisting of at most eight lines pointing in the cardinal directions, the graphic helped me to remember where I had been, as well as to to delimit the boundaries of the imagined city of nTopia. Initially, it was quite difficult to ascertain where I needed to go to complete my assigned tasks (rebooting servers), whereas when I began to rely on the map the city grid became easier to navigate.
It is impossible, at least for me, to begin viewing this work of e-lit as more of a game than anything else. It seems likely that was the intent, but the narrative of the piece—you go around the city performing tasks like pressing buttons and updating servers—indicate the nature of the story. In effect, the story is about you figuring out the environment rather than you experiencing a cohesive narrative. I would, unsurprisingly, count this as literature, but perhaps not "literary," whatever that ideal entails.
Author: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 202
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