For my Digital Literature course final, I created a game. But this is not just a game: it is a Real-Person fanfiction-style game that features Plymouth State and everyone from the Digitalit class!
I use many theoretical concepts we learned in class to frame the world and plot of the game. For example, the controllable character in the game is called Interactor, which is a nod to Katherine Hayles’ essay on electronic literature. Hayles’ essay uses the term “interactor” to refer to the “user” engaging in a work of interactive fiction.
Perhaps the most explicit use of theoretical concepts from class, however, comes from the books that are read by the Interactor in the game. In order to acquire the means to destroy the Copyright Creature, the game’s villain, the Interactor must read about several elements of participatory culture that were discussed in our Digitalit course. The Interactor reads excerpts from What is a remix, exactly?by Elisa Kreisinger, Grey Area: How Fifty Shades Dominated the Marketby Emily Eakin, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture by Henry Jenkins, and Legal issues with fanfiction from Wikipedia. These four articles gave the best examples of what participatory culture is, how it’s used, and what the issues are surrounding it.
The Copyright Creature itself is also a nod to concepts we went over in class, particularly relating to fanfiction and remixes. Fanfiction and remixes, being forms of participatory culture, are unique in the way they rely on being a “transformative work” in order to be protected under Fair Use. If something is not protected under Fair Use, it is considered copyright. The grey areas surrounding Fair Use is what fuels the Copyright Creature’s rage.
The Copyright Creature, while demonic, actually does serve an important purpose: to protect the rights and works of authors. The Interactor can decide the best course of action for dealing with the Copyright Creature at the end of the game, whether it’s killing the creature or sparing its life, ultimately deciding their view on the matter. Copyright does serve an important purpose, which the Interactor may learn depending on their choice.
Outside theory, but still relating to the (real life) Digitalit class, is the use of Twine-like elements in the game. Twine creates branches of choices for the Interactor to explore. Although there are choices, the game is still linear in the way that it follows a distinct beginning, middle, and end that can’t be skipped through or reconfigured. The game does have different endings, though, and the two “big” endings have a significant difference that reflects they type of person the Interactor becomes while playing the game.
It’s important to note that Digitalit: The Game is a GAME, not interactive fiction. There are a few distinctions that solidify this point.
For example, there is an avatar to explore the world with. The avatar becomes the recognizable vehicle that NPC’s (non-playable characters) interact with. By interacting with NPC’s, the player can find out more about the world and more about the story behind the game.
The person behind the avatar (the player) is supposed to suspend themselves in the world that the avatar is engaging with. This “suspension” is helped by another defining characteristic of the game-genre: world building. Digitalit: The Game utilizes world building to create not just the setting of the game, but the “reality” the game is set in.
Players see the visual elements to the world: the brick pathways, the trees, the clock tower. Those who go to Plymouth State University have the extra edge of knowing where the game is set in real life: the school. In addition to the visuals, however, are the objects that the player can click on to get a further look at the world.
By examining these “extra” things, the player gets a sense of the world they are in. The mood behind the world changes depending on where the player is in the game. For example, the hellish looking Ellen Reed is very different from the serene campus. Inside are statues that stare, and guts that line the walls. Clicking these things allows the player to know that the mood of the game has changed, and that there are sinister elements in the world. I’d say world building is the most distinctive quality of the game that makes it a game rather than just interactive fiction.
Another highlight in my game is that most of the dialogue comes directly from the blogposts created by my Digitalit class, which can be viewed on this very WordPress site.
I felt that it was important to do this for two reasons. This game, in a sense, is a form of Real-Person fanfiction. The characters in the game are taken directly from people in real life. Even the game’s environmental layout is based directly on Plymouth State University. Making sure that the game’s characters were true to their real life counterparts both in their visual representations and their dialogue was important to me, because that’s what a Real-Person fanfic is about: taking real people and throwing them into a fictional situation.
In addition to staying true to the Real-Person fanfic genre was my goal to be “meta”. This game is meta in the sense that it is a game created in a Digitalit class by a Digitalit student about a Digitalit class and Digitalit students. The students in my class have learned what the characters in the game learn, and the students in real life have, in a sense, experienced what the Interactor in the game experiences (minus the demonic creature).
In conclusion, this game ties together the most important elements my Digitalit class studied over the course of the semester. More importantly, however, is that the game also ties in the individual students, and preserves their reactions to our course through the medium of the game.
That’s about it!. Click the link below to get the file! Here are directions on how to play:
- First, click the Google Drive link below.
- From there, you need to download the ENTIRE Digitalitfinal file.
That should download a file named Digitalitfinal onto your computer.
- Open it, and find the file named Game.exe.
- When you try to open that file, it should prompt you to either EXTRACT ALL or RUN.
You want to EXTRACT ALL.
- That should give you another file named Digitalit.
- Open that one, then run THAT folder’s Game.exe file, and you should be golden.
I really feel like playing the game doesn’t show how many things I had to learn to make this run correctly, so I’m including some screenshots to show off my work