Literary Games: The Intersection of Writing and Play (DANM 132, UC Santa Cruz)

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2011
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Abstract (in English): 

(From syllabus:) Digital literature exists at a unique crossroads between two very different media: games, and stories told with words. How can the needs of gameplay be balanced with the sometimes contradictory needs of storytelling? Is a creator of these works an author or a designer? Should interactive stories be beta tested or workshopped? How can one write prose meant to be manipulated by an audience?

This intensive hands-on course, half writing/design workshop and half survey of contem- porary work, will explore the many thriving micro-genres in the neutral zone between games and literature, including hypertext stories, parser-based interactive fiction, simulation- and system-based prose, and spatial and collaborative narratives. We will try out as many inter- active stories as we can, focusing on accessible work less than ten years old to emphasize the living and still-evolving state of digital literature. We’ll also learn several tools for making our own digital fictions, conducting a series of experiments culminating in a final project: a major piece of creative writing in a digital mode. The work we explore and create will help frame our discussions about what these evolving new media say about storytelling in the 21st century. 

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Aaron Reed