In our discussions in class on this blog, we have talked in some detail about the different perspectives Donna Leishman’s “Red Riding Hood” presents. More specifically, we have focused on the apparent feminist perspective that Leishman’s Interactive Fiction seems to take. I will freely admit now that I continued to play through Red Riding Hood even after the assignment was due in hopes of gaining a clearer interpretation of Leishman’s embedded message.
After several play-through’s and infinite permutations of clicks, combinations, and mouse-overs, however, it finally occurred to me: perhaps there is no single message. Instead, perhaps there are many different messages here — all depending upon the way the game is played. Each time I replayed the game, I was intentionally choosing a different set of actions than before in hopes of producing a new result. As a result, each play-through yielded a new story altogether. With that story came a new set of actions, a new set of themes, and a new embedded message that could be derived.
For example, during my first play-through I chose to wake Riding Hood up instead of letting her dream. Without the dream sequence and the discovery of Red’s diary to cast doubt on her innocence, the message of the story seemed very clear-cut to me: the wolf represented all men, and men were brutal stalkers, rapists, and murderers. There were no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it, Leishman was saying that men are evil.
Yet as I played through the game more and more, my interpretation of the story began to change. The discovery of her diary, the various images of her dream, and the different interact-able objects I came upon all altered my perspective of the game in some way. Eventually I began to realize that there was no single perspective or interpretation at hand. The bigger picture of “Red Riding Hood” could certainly be assigned a meaning, but it was the individual play-through’s themselves that made the difference.
In short, how you interact with the story will define the scope of the perspective. While we ourselves may know or have memorized the contents of Red’s diary, by choosing not to read it during a play-through we sacrifice the information it provides. Instead, we must rely on the other parts of the game we interact with to assist us with our interpretation.
Hopefully, this made sense to you and you can identify somewhat with my argument. There is much that can be said about Leishman’s piece here, and I encourage you to share your thoughts here as well. I do, however, have one request: please do not reference the new Red Riding Hood movie. That avenue has been pretty exhausted already….