Look familiar? I just found Inanimate Alice in the Electronic Literature volumes, and was so excited to write my paper on it; however there has already been extensive analysis on the first and fourth episodes. So, I decided to look at Episode 3. If you want to play the Russian episode of this game, check it out here.
Inanimate Alice is so profound because of the interaction and graphics, not the actual story. There is so much to discuss but I want to focus on Alice’s reliance on Brad and the movement of the words in the story.
Throughout the series, Brad seems to be Alice’s only friend, and this friend is simply a skateboard game on her precious player. This skateboarder represents Alice’s safe place in a world seemingly filled with danger. When Alice hides in a closet, Brad is the one that she goes to for comfort. When Brad is almost taken away at the end of the episode Alice will not allow it. Instead the player has to go back and find all the dolls in order to survive because Alice refuses to give up her precious player, her only friend. Brad is the one constantly saving Alice throughout the five episodes; her sanity, her family, and her own life. It is no coincidence that Brad is the one that collects all the dolls, again saving Alice from the terror of the guard.
The use of movement in this episode further contributes to the action of the story. When Alice is hiding in the closet the words appear from behind the door. When Alice’s parents are fighting, the words shift back and forth, depicting their argument, when Alice later interrupts, her words come from the bottom of the screen, interrupting her parent’s side to side movement of conversation. Often there is a blurring of the words on the screen. In the first episode, this happened with every screen that included words, whereas this episode it only happened on certain screens. Though this can be interpreted many ways, I believe this directly correlates with Alice’s fear in conjunction with her lack of knowledge about the actual situation. I compared it to watery eyes, on the verge of crying and temporarily unable to continue with the story.
An ignorant young girl that notably matures from the first episode to the last fills inanimate Alice with symbolic and literal meaning. The symbols become more complex, her mother’s paintings more organized (like the boxes in this episode compared to random shapes in the first), her defiance more noticeable, and her strength maximized as the episodes go on. Though this is a nontraditional way to tell a story, it is novel that everyone should take 15 minutes to complete at least one episode.
To see all of the episodes, go to the Inanimate Alice Website.