Creative projects using Twine for C LIT 243: Fairy Tales and Folk Tales

 

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was introducing a special assignment for the summer version of the course C LIT:243 – Fairy Tales and Folk Tales. The term is almost over, and now is the time to share the works of some of my students with the internet at large.

These stories are meant to be contemporary reinterpretations of classic fairy tales themes, characters or storylines. Student integrated both the themes we analyzed in class, as well as some coding techniques allowing them to join story passages together, create branching paths (either arborescent, axial or networked narratives), as well as integrating some amount of macros and variables. We analyzes a few fairy tales-inspired Twine stories as part the in-class time dedicated to this project, and perhaps these stories could be used by other instructors in classes with a similar interest on interactive reinterpretations of classic fairy tales.

 

The Big Bad Wolf

Written by Ashley Bray, Breana Walsh and Steeven Jobin

 

Miss-education of Snow White

Written by Aaron Brown, Todd Pelan and Janina Graham

 

Hannan Takes New York

Written by Anonymous

 

Grandpa’s Fireplace

Written by Lynsey Stewart and Iliana Pappas

 

Out of the Cind

Written by Anonymous

 

Level Up! Recent Research Interview

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I was interviewed by the German fanzine Level UP! editor in chief  a few months ago, and the interview itself was made available just a few weeks ago. While the interview was conducted in English (and is till available in English on the website), the whole thing was translated in German for publication, which amazes me. Having done a few translations in the past, I know that this is extremely time-consuming.

As for the interview itself, I talk a lot about my current dissertation project, as well as my side projets on JRPGs. I would like to thanks Mathias again for this opportunity, this was very useful for me to once again situate my thoughts on the matter of transcultural video game circulation, and explain the place that text mining might come to play in order to explore some of these issues. Don’t hesitate to take a look if you are interested in any of these things!

Enseignement: Fairy Tales and Folks Tales (Été 2017)

Le département de Modern Languages and Cultural Studies m’offre un nouveau cours à enseigner cet été. À première vue, le cours en question ne semble pas tout à fait convenir à mon bagage académique qui est principalement axé autour de la culture japonaise, de la ludologie et des humanités numériques. Exit la littérature électronique de cet automne, bienvenue Cendrillon, le Petit Chaperon Rouge et autres Hansel et Gretel. De juin à juillet j’enseigne C LIT 243: Fairy Tales and Folks Tales.

L’objectif du cours n’a rien de révolutionnaire. Il s’agit de guider le développement d’une compréhension historique de certains contes de fées chez l’étudiant sous plusieurs axes, mais à travers une approche principalement basée sur relation entre l’auteur, le lecteur et contexte. Nous passerons ainsi des classiques des frères Grimm et de Marie-Jeanne l’Héritier (Ricdin-Ricdon) aux reformulations contemporaines de leurs histoires. En plus de projections d’un ou deux films, nous analyserons quelques œuvres de fiction interactive afin de situer la place des contes de fées aujourd’hui. Donc, beaucoup de lecture, mais aussi beaucoup d’analyse et de discussion en classe.

J’apporte un changement relativement important au déroulement normal de ce cours cet été. À la fin de la session, les étudiants devront remettre une nouvelle interactive codée à l’aide de Twine. L’idée est de permettre aux étudiants de faire la synthèse de leurs acquis à travers une plateforme créative en tant que complément aux autres méthodes d’évaluation traditionnelles (essais, examens et autres). J’ai pu noter dans mon cours précédent que la plupart des étudiants sont très à l’aise face à certaines formes textuelles interactives comme le jeu vidéo. Twine nous permet d’étudier ces principes en passant outre l’apprentissage d’un langage de programmation, ce qui est excellent dans le cadre d’un cours d’été. Éventuellement, je partagerai ces nouvelles sur ce blogue, ou sur une autre plateforme.

Symposium: Digital Narratives Around the World

The symposium that I have been preparing alongside Prof. Astrid Ensslin is being held today. I am glad that we could set time aside to host this event; many professors and students from around campus are converging to share the status of their research on the topics of storytelling and digital technology. These ranged from reading surveillance systems (Rockwell) to creative use of digital mapping for personal storytelling (Mackey).

You may follow the conversation online on the symposium twitter hashtag:

#YEGdigitalnarratives

Thanks to all participants!

 

Course: Cyberliterature

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I am about to close the books on my very first teaching experience as a principal instructor at the University of Alberta. This Cyberliterature class was a fantastic challenge, a great opportunity to expand my horizons on various forms of electronic literatures, as well as a chance to unpack some of the internet culture that we usually take for granted (memes, rage comics, fan fiction and so on). One of the objectives that I had for this particular incarnation of the class was to create a more culturally diverse corpus that previous years, and I think that the week dedicated to cell phone novels and visual novels worked great in this regard. I also experimented with integrating VR material as a text to be discussed in class, which was difficult a first to get going due to the technical requirements of this technology, but turned out to be well worth it.

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Thanks again to the staff in MLCS for their trust and this opportunity.

 

CFP – Digital Narratives Around the World

Just a quick word to share the CFP of an upcoming symposium held at the University of Alberta on digital narratives. I have helped Prof. Astrid Ensslin putting this project together over the past few weeks, and I am looking forward to meet with the greater Albertan digital fiction community in May. Check it out if you are in the area, especially if you are doing research on digital fiction or game studies.

Here is an excerpt from the CFP.

“The University of Alberta, in association with the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies (KIAS), would like to acknowledge and help further develop this interest by creating the possibility of researchers and students across campus and beyond to join forces and create a scholarly network dedicated to the support and the dissemination of cross-disciplinary research on digital narratives around the world. A first step towards the implementation of this project is a one-day symposium that will bring together researchers from the University of Alberta along with external collaborators, where participants will share their research and ideas through individual or team presentations. The objectives of this event are to identify the University of Alberta’s strengths in the field and possible synergies between research groups, to establish a roadmap for the planning of future events and projects, as well as to investigate the needs and provisions for current and future graduate students in this area.”

(Re)Blog – Dynamics of Mobile Gaming

I have not posted anything original in a while, which I blame on a busy schedule. I recently came across an old blog that I used to maintain as part of Prof. Rockwell’s seminar on Japanese video game culture a few years back. Some of these posts still seem relevant today, so I though it could be worthwhile to share updated versions of them again on this platform. Enjoy!

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The practice of mobile gaming is a difficult subject to frame and situate since its platforms are meant to be very flexible. However, it is possible to make sense of this particular form of gaming through the framework presented by Ito in Mobilizing the Imagination in Everyday Play, specifically, through the concept of hyper-socialization, a form of socialization mediated by the formation of a knowledge economy based on media content and shared amongst its participants.

Cohen’s text was very informative as it brought forward case studies of mobile game design experiments that gives us a clearer idea of what elements to consider while designing a mobile game for the Japanese market. He identifies the terms Personal (space of intimacy), Portable (mobility of the device) and Pedestrian (nagara gaming) as the main concepts that frames the experience of mobile phone entertainment in Japan, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t look at portable console use in the same light. Indeed, from the dual-screen DS to the portable media device that was the PSP, mobile consoles in Japan have always been a save haven for gaming experiences that focus on the intimacy of the ludic experience, the imaginary creation of a restricted relationship with the screen. Those comprise of visual novels, brain training games and role-playing games. Interestingly, those seem to also be the experiences that define the PC as a gaming space. Visual novels are often released on PC first, and then ported on mobile consoles. The PC in Japan also hosts a number of long-running franchises of real-time strategy games that are mostly unknown in the West. However, the mobile consoles have also given momentum to completely different genre, one of those―the kyoutou games (coop games), sometimes called hunting games―requires repurposing the console as a vehicle for socialization in the same vein Ito talks about card games as tools for hyper-socialization.

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Summer 2013, Kyoutou Sensei promotes the joys of collaborative battle games in the first of many commercials.

On mobile devices, we have games like Monster Hunter, Soul Sacrifice, Valhalla Nights and others that inspire strong community of players who meet in cafés with groups or random strangers. Even games with very low level of communal engagement like Puzzles and Dragons (by far the most popular mobile game) integrate a lot of social elements: players must be connected with other users in order to lean their strength to overcome challenging bosses. Such games are very customizable themselves and mobile game communities like the one associated with Valkyria Chronicle D is very intricate where players have developed hierarchical relationship with rights and duties in relation to what the game requires users to do in order to achieve a communal goal. There is plenty of space for remix and mediated but meaningful social encounters through mobile gaming from its most intricate form (Monster Hunter) to its most nagara (Puzzles and Dragons). However, I must differ from Ito’s perspective when she identifies hyper-socialization with contestation, there just doesn’t seem to be actual rebellion against a given text in the media mix, only reinterpretation and adaptation.

Works Cited

Ito, Mizuko. ¨Mobilizing the Imagination of Everyday Play: The Case of Japanese Media Mixes¨ in International Handbook of Children, Media and Culture. Edited by Sonia Livingstone and Kirsten Drotner. SAGE Publishing,  2008.

Cohen, Einat. ¨Portable Gaming in Japan: Redefining Urban Play Space and Changing Gameplay¨. University of Haifa, 2010.