The link to the flash-based narrative can be found here if you are interested in viewing it. I was drawn in to this particular narrative because of the picture found on the Electronic Literature Collection (Volume 1) page.
Browsing the collection, I ran across this image and figured that this would be the one that I chose:
A fun little picture right? Seemed pretty…inviting. When I clicked on the picture, I was greeted by this description: “This narrative, produced in Flash, follows a young girl whose life is mediated by technology during a day of family unrest when her father is lost and found.” Seems pretty dark right? In my opinion, it gets worse.
When I began the story, I was told that it would take about 8 minutes to complete and that I needed to have my music turned on so I could listen as I went through with the narrative. I thought to myself, Oh that will be fun to listen to music while I go through this. A nice little tune. Wrong.
The music was very scary, for lack of a better term. A lot of the times, it was static that played through the speakers. One great description that I can think of is if you have your iPhone or other smartphone close to a set of computer speakers when you are about to receive a message or are sending a message, the clicking sound that it makes. That was very prominent throughout the narrative. At least, for me it was.
I was also greeted a lot by this type of font:
If you can’t make it out, it says “My name is Alice — I’m 8 years old”
It blurred out every once in a while and then returned to its normal state. This was very creepy going through the narrative but also kept me on edge. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but clicking through each of the slides took me to a different part of the story. Alice and her mother were literally on a mission to find their father because he was lost.
I believe that this should be read by everyone else because of the interesting design that the story has. I had a confused look on my face the entire time I was interacting with the narrative because of how different it was from other stories that I have read. I could see how this type of narrative could grasp a lot of attention because of the interesting way that it was designed. I’m still trying to find the right words to describe it. I guess that ‘abstract’ would be one way to try and portray this piece. Clicking on the arrows takes the reader to the next part of the story and at times, you even need to interact to move forward. For example, the narrative claims that the girl likes to take pictures of the flowers. The cursor then becomes a camera and you have to move your mouse over the image to take a picture. Once a picture is taken, a new part of the story is revealed! I found this interaction to be quite entertaining because I was then a part of the story, instead of distanced from it and only observing. It keeps the reader engaged in the story and the reader’s interest is not lost with this interaction.
Apparently there are more “episodes” that can be viewed here. This is the homepage for Inanimate Alice and there are many more stories that can be viewed there if you are interested in this one. I will probably check out one or two more just to see if the content is about the same or if the design is completely different than that of Episode 1.
Overall, I enjoyed the flash-based narrative and thought that it was extremely unique. I would find it hard to believe that the others listed in the collection would be anything similar to that of Inanimate Alice: Episode 1.